Author of a last summer transfer window very focused on market opportunities and players free of any contract with the arrivals of Messi, Ramos or Donnarumma, PSG has once again shown that free agents do not really smile at them.
Between the PSG and the players free of any contract, the idyll is rare. Increasingly faced with this scenario of free players looking for a new base, the club from the capital was tempted by the many opportunities present on the market last summer. With the resounding arrivals of Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum, PSG had considerably strengthened itself on paper and presented its recruits with fanfare in front of a boiling Parc des Princes. But as the end of the season looms, the new faces in Paris have struggled to confirm the expectations placed on them. More generally, since the passage of PSG under the Qatari flag, recruiting free has never really smiled at the Parisian club and the satisfactions remain rare.
QSI’s PSG first cautious with free players
If we trace the blows taken by PSG on the market of free players, we quickly realize the real air gap between the names listed. Upon the arrival of QSI in 2011, PSG hired two free goalkeepers: Nicolas Shower who was signed before the arrival of Qatar and then relegated to the sidelines by rookie Salvatore Sirigu, and Ronan The Crom come to make the number. The first will make an honorable stint at PSG when the second will only play one match with the club in a year and a half, the last of the 2012/2013 season, in Lorient with a red card in less than 20 minutes of play.
The Parisian club of course did not stop there and offered a resounding marketing coup by bringing in David Beckham in the capital during the home stretch of the 2013 winter transfer window. to offer themselves a last challenge and the end of their career in Europe. The legend’s farewell Three Lions at the Parc des Princes had toured the planet. Objective achieved that day, a little less when Ancelotti started him against Barça to the detriment of Verratti for a quarter-final of the Champions League…
After Comet Gustavo Hebling in the summer of 2015, whose arrival is still as difficult to explain, except that he was represented by Mino Raiola, there followed a period when PSG did not enlist any players as free agents , opportunities becoming rarer on the market. It was during the now very famous 2016 summer transfer window (where the unforgettable Krychowiak, Jesé and Meunier will sign in particular) that Hatem Ben Arfa commits to PSG for two seasons. At the end of a season of fire with OGC Nice where he had scored 18 goals in 39 games, he will not score more than 4 under the colors of Paris, none in Ligue 1 or in the Champions League. He was dismissed in April 2017 and will never play with PSG again. The end-of-contract carnage had just begun.
Dani Alves or the switch to the old glories in their thirties at the end of the contract
Since then, PSG has subscribed to the arrival of free players, but of a completely different caliber and with a different profile since they are often in their thirties. In July 2017, Dani Alves officially joins the club for two years after his freelance at Juventus. At 34, he had proven on several occasions that he could bring his experience and his talent and he was generally reliable physically despite a serious injury. But his passage remains contrasting and the right side, who scored some fine goals, had not been extended since he also bore signs of a player in decline.
During the winter of 2018, PSG is looking for a reinforcement in the middle. With the only Thiago Motta to play as a sentry, the Parisian club jumps at the opportunity Lassana Diarra, free after breaking his contract with Al Jazeera. Committed until June 2019 with PSG, his adventure comes to an end in February when the Frenchman decides to end his professional career after several months outside the group. Arrived at almost 33 years old after a year without playing at the highest level, he never won at PSG.
The following summer, PSG changed direction with regard to goalkeepers and decided to bring experience to the position by registering the arrival of Gianluigi buffon. Competing with Alphonse Areola, the 40-year-old Italian goalkeeper started the season well but he exploded in flight and finished on several blunders, including an unforgivable in the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Manchester United. A one-year contract, then leaves.
During the same summer transfer window, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting agrees with PSG for two years on the last day of the transfer market to everyone’s surprise, brought back by a Tuchel who knew him in Mainz. Far from having marked the spirits by his talent, he had nevertheless managed to find a place for himself within the workforce. Not stingy with effort, the Cameroonian had become one of the darlings of part of the PSG public, all the more so when he gave qualification in added time against Atalanta in the quarter-finals of the League of Champions in the summer of 2020. A few weeks later, he will leave PSG free of charge for … Bayern.
Still very little success thereafter
At the beginning of July 2019, PSG signed three players free of any contract. Mitchell baker arrives from Ajax Amsterdam, well helped by his agent Mino Raiola. If he played little in his first season, he proved in 2020/2021 that he was physically ultra-reliable, despite obvious flaws. He has at least for him to have brought in a good sum for PSG and should bring in even more money thanks to the resale percentage which had been included in the sale. Of all the players signed at the end of the contract by PSG from QSI, he is so far the only one to have been sold and therefore to have brought in some money for the club.
Arrived the same summer as Bakker from another big European club, the Polish goalkeeper Marcin Bulka arrived from Chelsea and was 19 years old at the time. He only played two games in the jersey of PSG in Ligue 1, multiplying the loans, a little conclusive in Spain in Cartagena, the second a little more in Châteauroux. This season in Nice, he seems to have convinced the leaders during his rare appearances to exercise the purchase option in his loan which amounts to 2 million euros. He could therefore become the second after Bakker to have been recruited free and then sold.
The last free transfer of this summer 2019, undoubtedly the most disadvantageous for PSG, is that of Ander Herrera. Regularly injured, having never really found his place, simply not at the level and all this while being part of the top 15 salaries of Ligue 1. Almost untransferable because of his emoluments too high for his age since he is 32 years old , the Spaniard’s contract runs, on top of that, until 2024, since he had signed for five years at the time, despite some Manchester United supporters who were already very skeptical about his level. Upon his return to PSG, Leonardo tried to cancel the contract negotiated by Antero Henrique, without success…
Among the names that we can forget within the PSG squad, Alexandre Letellier, third goalkeeper since September 2020, had also arrived free. In two seasons, he has not played a single minute in the Parisian jersey, and it is readily admitted that he is only there to fill the quotas of players trained at the club in the Champions League. His contract ends next June, and he could play a few minutes to be officially crowned champion. An arrival comparable to that of Ronan Le Crom a few years ago, a complementary player who came free and with a small salary.
A summer of 2021 that is no exception to the rule
In a post-Covid market, PSG had decided to carry out “a window of opportunity” to use the words of Leonardo. He therefore brought in no less than four free players: first Georginio Wijnaldum (30), then Sergio Ramos (35 years old), Gianluigi Donnarumma (22 years old) and finally Lionel Messi (34) after an aborted extension at FC Barcelona. Now two games to the end of the season, almost all of them have disappointed. Only Gianluigi Donnarumma seems to have his head above water, even if the competition with Keylor Navas did not help him settle completely in the cages and the Italian also seems to be suffering from the sad end of the Parisian season.
Like almost all players who have been free for almost ten years now, older players with a long CV, who consequently benefit from huge salaries, are disappointing and do not meet the expectations that their arrivals had generated. Beckham had started fashion, that of a player worn out but bankableAlves and Buffon followed in the summer of 2018 and the arrivals three years later of Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi seem totally in the same vein, the Wijnaldum fiasco meanwhile seeming to be closer to the Herrera case, a very good complement player in a top English club which seems to have been wrung out by the Premier League.
If Bakker and Bulka have or will bring in a few million and Donnarumma can still become the great goalkeeper he is supposed to be, the opportunities sniffed out by PSG have in reality only proved very inconclusive when they seemed enticing on the surface. . Now a month away from the opening of the next summer transfer window, it’s hard not to think about it when the Parisian club could once again be tempted by Paul Pogba (30), at the end of his contract with Manchester United, or Ousmane Dembélé ( 25 years old shortly) who is in the same situation with FC Barcelona.