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2018 ended in promising fashion for PSG, but what would Paris fans include on their Christmas lists this festive season to make the coming year a real success?
1. Sign a Defensive Midfielder - PSG’s midfield is becoming increasingly stretched. Blaise matuidi’s dynamism wasn’t replaced, Thiago Motta retired in the summer and Marco Verratti remains injury prone. Deals for Jean Seri and Fabinho melted away meaning Julian Draxler has often dropped deeper alongside Marquinhos, a centre back by trade. Now, with Adrien Rabiot all but gone and given that they’re expect to progress in Europe and retain their domestic treble in 2019, one, or perhaps two, January midfield additions could be crucial to those aims.
2. Meaningful Champions League Success - While Paris aren’t without latter stage Champions League successes, their zenith remains a pair of last 16 victories over Chelsea, while zero one semi-final appearances since the Qatari takeover remains a sore spot. As do disastrous exits to clubs they consider ‘peers’ - the remondata at the Nou Camp, surrendering to Manchester City and being out played by Real Madrid. Thomas Tuchel, however, is moulding a more streetwise side and a quarter final win over a fellow tournament favourite would be watershed moment.
3. Stay United - Thomas Tuchel deserves serious praise, not only for a stylistic evolution - making PSG more effective and less flakey, but also for generating a sense of togetherness in Paris. While Unai Emery remains an astute coach, he neglected to build individuals relationships, while his frosty dealing with Neymar proved decisive in a cliquey group the has always fallen between smug and arrogant. Footage of his players egging him on to sing his initiation song at a press conference (‘Happy’ by Pharrell) and celebrations after beating Liverpool point to a changing atmosphere. Can it last?
by Adam White