Given questions about the future of three of Paris Saint-Germain’s biggest stars, it is likely that they will have to sign a new top-level option to attack this summer.
Angel Di Maria’s contract expires in June and although PSG have signaled their intention to renew it, the Argentina international turned 33 in February and is not a long-term solution. Doubts remain about star striker Kylian Mbappe, who signed his contract in 2022 and has expressed a desire to play for Real Madrid “one day”. And then there is Neymar, whose injury concerns remain – the 29-year-old has only made 16, 15 and nine (this season) Ligue 1 games for PSG in the past three years.
Even if PSG manage to extend one of the above terms to new terms – with sources telling ESPN that Neymar has already agreed to a four-year deal – the French giants will still want to bring in a striker, preferably one who can play one Variety of positions to land the elusive Champions League trophy.
Sources told ESPN that the club have shown interest in signing Barcelona legend Lionel Messi when his contract expires this summer. However, the 33-year-old’s future is unclear after the presidential election and his financial expectations – assuming he wishes to keep this a little close to his current wage – are difficult to meet even for PSG.
Who could one of the richest clubs in the world appeal to instead? It will be difficult to prevail in the current climate, but here are five alternatives that might fit well in Paris.
Mohamed Salah certainly provides the global appeal that PSG would seek. Photo by Andrew Powell / Liverpool FC via Getty Images
The Egyptian international is one of only half a dozen Liverpool players who really showed up in a disappointing Premier League season. Although the team’s attack patterns are largely unrecognizable as the joyful interplay of the strikers from previous years was often lacking as they lost their last six games at Anfield, Salah still contributed his fair share. He has scored 17 league goals and is still the most creative player at Anfield. This season he still has an average of 1.47 chances per game, up from 1.65 from his sensational previous campaign.
PSG’s hopes of landing Salah will be helped if Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League this season. Rumor has it that there have been rumors of unrest with coach Jürgen Klopp and the club may choose to take advantage of a high-earning player who turns 29 summer before his contract (which ends in 2023) expires. Either way, Salah’s potential signing would offer the PSG front a more consistent left-footed option than Pablo Sarabia and obviously add another world-class star to the roster, but it wouldn’t come cheap.
Dortmund star Jadon Sancho would add a new dimension to PSG’s attack. Getty
After a slow start to the season, possibly affected by the long-awaited € 120million transfer to Manchester United, which never came about, Sancho has reached the same form peaks that put him in the top group of attacking midfielders in Europe last season / Have catapulted long strikers. Since the turn of the year, the English winger has found the net eight times while preparing his teammates for another seven.
With signals from Manchester United’s camp suggesting re-pursuit of the 20-year-old may not be a given, other European powerhouses could begin exploring a possible transfer. Sancho’s directness and sharpness in the last third, mixed with his ability to play comfortably on both sides, make him a realizable goal. Dortmund is currently four points behind the place in the Champions League. If you miss this competition, getting out of Sancho this summer could be inevitable, along with the growing financial success caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Lautaro Martinez’s excellent form this season has pushed Inter Milan to the top of Serie A. Claudio Villa – Inter / Inter via Getty Images
Under normal circumstances, a striker like Martinez would have been untouchable, maybe even to PSG folks, but with the pandemic still at large and Inter’s owners, Chinese conglomerate Suning, have already closed the door for one of their football operations in China , nothing can be ruled out.
Martinez, who was in the foreground at Racing Club de Avellaneda in Argentina as a teenager, has been in disastrous form for Inter this season. The Argentina international has scored 13 goals, often assisting or assisting the Belgian.
Martinez, with his intensity, sense of opportunism, natural ability and competitive advantage, is a striker of the Luis Suarez or Carlos Tevez. He is always on the move and is excellent at fending off challenges. He can also play on the left side of the attack, from where he can cut the infield on his preferred right foot. Useful in the pressing game, it’s also ready to help with backtracking.
Memphis Depay’s contract in Lyon expires in June and alerts Barcelona and Ligue 1 rivals PSG. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP via Getty Images
Depay is one of the three best players in Ligue 1 in the last two seasons and an attractive offer for several European giants, as he is available as a free agent in the summer. Depay wasted little time getting over his failed (albeit slightly underrated) Manchester United stint as he quickly became a key player for Lyon after joining the club in January 2017.
While Barcelona and Juventus are said to be the front runners in the hunt for the Dutch striker, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if PSG were to stay in control. Depay is mainly a broad player in the Premier League and has been largely classified as the “wrong number 9” for Lyon. It often falls deep into the depths to complete game tasks or to make room for the wingers. His versatility, along with amazing technical qualities and the ability to create danger every time the ball is touched, shows that the Lyon captain is at the top of the game.
While a possible move between the two French rivals won’t go down well with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, PSG would undoubtedly be delighted to rob their rivals of their star player.
Mikel Oyarzabal has the potential to be Spain’s next big thing. David S. Bustamante / Soccrates / Getty Images
While Oyarzabal lacks the pre-eminent pull of the other four, he would be a good signature – especially if PSG followed many of their domestic and European rivals by taking a more prudent line in the transfer market. While talent exploitation and resale value are paramount in this scenario, PSG now has a coach in Mauricio Pochettino who has never shied away from developing talent.
An outstanding youth player, Oyarzabal has played almost 200 league games for Real Sociedad and recently secured a place for the Spanish senior team. The 23-year-old Basque striker is a smart off-the-ball runner with an excellent left foot (although he’s capable of his right too). It can be used on both wings and is particularly useful when allowed to drift into central areas to slide through passes to runners out of midfield (it has registered an impressive 35 key passes this season). Ten goals and six league games suggest he could be close to a real breakthrough.