Thierry Henry reckons French giants will be hard to stop as their new signings make them a force to be reckoned with
THE dust has settled on the summer transfer window and while it was amazing in England for deals that didn’t get done, what happened in Paris was staggering.
Of course, I’m talking PSG. Wow! That’s a transfer window!
Neymar signed for £198million and Kylian Mbappe joined on loan with a fee of £162m to be paid down the line.
If you’d told me that would happen at the start of the summer, I’d have said, ‘Are you mad?’ It’s crazy.
But PSG have one thing in their sights: The Champions League.
They start their campaign on Tuesday against Celtic, who could be forgiven for being nervous when they look at the team-sheets.
On paper Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani is a scary forward line. Mbappe, at 18, is young but we have seen his quality.
The other two are proven class, but it will be interesting to see how they work together — especially off the ball.
We focus on what players do on the ball — but it’s what you do when your team lose it that’s more important — how quickly to press and win it back.
When I was at Barca, that was key for us and one of the most impressive things about our team.
It makes sense because if you win it back in or around your opponents’ box it saves you having to run back 50 yards.
You can stay in the opponents’ half, suffocate them. You save energy, stay on the front foot and demoralise opponents.
If a team gets through the PSG line because they don’t press, it’s a different ball game.
You can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t work hard, it’s useless. Any team that has won the Champions League has that work ethic.
We used to do it in training with Pep Guardiola — we’d train how we played.
How we’d press would depend on the opposition. But he was keen for us to be compact and win the ball back really high.
And it makes sense when you have a front three like PSG’s. Play to your strengths.
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Will Mbappe buy into this? He has been used to a 4-4-2 at Monaco not a 4-3-3 as PSG will play. Well, 4-4-2 is a different story. You naturally have more cover.
He’ll have to learn and adapt quickly as Unai Emery always likes his teams to work incredibly hard.
I thought Mbappe would go to Real Madrid or Barca if he moved this summer but when you see the money being offered I was less surprised!
I guess it also helps that he’s gone back to Paris, his home city.
But wherever he is, he has to perform. Now. You used to have three or four years to reach the top after you showed talent. Now the expectation is instant.
Neymar and Mbappe joining PSG is great for the French League. It will raise the profile massively.
When I was in New York, people wore PSG shirts because of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Now the focus will rise dramatically. PSG will be back on the map.
There will be a lot of pressure, though, because they have joined the group of teams who are judged on whether they win the Champions League.
That’s what you must expect at a big side. Which brings me to the English clubs.
It’s vital Premier League teams turn on the style in Europe. It’s been too long since English clubs regularly went deep in the Champions League.
Man City are well equipped, Man United too. OK, Spurs might not have the depth.
But there are five English clubs this time so it’d be nice to see one of them involved at the business end.