Can Paris Saint-Germain's attack conquer Europe?
Since the Qatari Investment Authority took charge, Paris Saint-Germain planned to reach European football's summit. Splashing the cash was important to make that happen.
PSG broke the bank to recruit both Neymar and French wunderkind Kylian Mbappe from Barcelona and Monaco respectively. Alongside Edinson Cavani, the new acquisitions formed a deadly attacking trio. Many expected them to conquer Europe in a single try. They couldn't.
To rule Europe, a team needs a very strong attack. That attack must often experience failure to find success. Barcelona's experienced trio won the Champions League in 2015 when ‘MSN’ was at its best. Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez got the job done for the Catalan giants. PSG sat in for a 6-1 master class in the Camp Nou. The lesson triggered Neymar's purchase. When you're too impatient to develop experience, buy it.
Money was splashed; results didn't come. Last season, PSG lost both Round of 16 legs to eventual Champions, Real Madrid. Neymar's injury against Marseille ruled him out of the second leg. With him in the lineup, the second game at Les Parcs des Princes might have played out differently.
The new season is upon us and “NCM” are already up and running. Last season's failure can be blamed on the former manager for convenience's sake. Thomas Tuchel was signed to turn things around. It's a new day.
The German tactician will enjoy tutoring “NCM”. In turn, Neymar, Cavani and Mbappe have a reliable man in the dugout.
Neymar will carry the entire weight in this attack, serving as the fulcrum and bearing full responsibility for the club's success or failure. He has the talent to meet expectations. He must prove he has the heart or history will roll him off the pitch.
Kylian Mbappe provides support from the other side. The teenage Frenchman has a World Cup in his pocket, something Neymar and Cavani do not. When needed, he can take control in a match like he did with his brace against Argentina at the Round 16. Beating Lionel Messi at his game will give the youngster added confidence should the two meet again in the Champions League, as karma so often likes to arrange. Mbappe's lightning pace and skill set the tone for Les Rouge et Bleu's attack.
Cavani is among the best No. 9’s modern football has to offer. He bagged 35 League goals last season, 28 in the previous campaign, three for Uruguay in Russia and is already back to business this season. The petty squabbling with Neymar over penalty duties is in the past. He has learned to work with the flamboyant star just as he did with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Uruguayan is next to unstoppable, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal discovered at the World Cup.
“NCM” is back under a better manager who knows how to unleash attacking beasts. PSG have the weapons to conquer Europe. All that remains is to do it. Is it finally their turn? We'll find out in May.