Jul 23, 2017
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Paris Saint Germain target European dominance with £250 million move for duo

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The Guardian are reporting that Paris Saint Germain are edging closer to sealing one of the biggest double-signings in modern football history as they continue to chase Barcelona star Neymar and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi is prepared to splash out almost a quarter of a billion pounds on the pair as the club attempts to reassert itself as the dominant domestic club in France next season.

After being bought by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments in 2011 the club won four successive league titles following heavy investment in the playing squad, but last year their supremacy was brought to an end as they finished the campaign eight points behind AS Monaco in Ligue 1.

Les Parisians have also failed to make an impact in European competition and threw away a four-goal first leg lead against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League in February.

With the club’s domestic dominance broken and half a decade of failure in Europe, the PSG hierarchy are determined to make a bold statement during the summer transfer window and see Neymar and Sanchez as the perfect high profile duo to re-energise the playing squad.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi is reportedly close to agreeing a world-record £199 million deal for Barcelona star Neymar – more than double the figure that Manchester United invested in Paul Pogba twelve months ago.

The Sunday Express have suggested that the 25-year-old has already informed his current club and team mates that he wants to leave the Nou Camp before the start of the season and it is believed that he has already agreed in principle a contract worth around £27 million per year after tax.

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The arrival of Neymar would provide PSG with a sprinkle of stardust and magic that was so badly lacking throughout last season after the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whilst a move would also spark record sales of replica shirts for the French club.

The 25-year-old has been a prominent figure in Barcelona’s attacking trident alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, scoring 20 goals in 45 appearances last year. However, at the Nou Camp he is forced to compete with other star names for the limelight and a transfer to PSG would allow him to be the leading figure at the club.

PSG are also targeting Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez with the club’s sporting director, Antero Henrique, meeting with the player’s representatives late last week. All parties are reportedly close to reaching an agreement and an offer in the region of £40.3 million is expected to be lodged by the French club in the coming days.

Whilst Arsenal are determined to resist any potential offers for Sanchez they risk losing the Chile international for nothing when his current contract expires twelve months time and could accept a bid of £50 million.

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Le Parisien, as referenced by the Metro, have reported that Sanchez has indicated that he has no desire to negotiate a new deal with The Gunners and is determined to play for a club that competes in the UEFA Champions League.

Whilst Manchester City have been heavily linked with a move for the 28-year-old during the past two months it is believed that Arsene Wenger would prefer the player to move across the channel rather than to a direct rival in England.

However, Sanchez has been an integral component of Arsenal’s success since arriving in the summer of 2012, averaging a goal every two games during the previous two seasons, and his departure would be a significant blow.

Is a move likely?

Paris Saint-Germain are undoubtedly looking to make a definitive statement in the transfer window before the start of the new season after experiencing a disappointing campaign last time around.

The club have the financial backing to make a significant investment in the current playing squad and appear to have decided to chase the star duo of Neymar and Alexis Sanchez in an attempt to re-energise Les Parisians and reassert their domestic dominance.

Both Barcelona and Arsenal are determined to hold on to their star names but could find it difficult to resist the money that PSG are prepared to offer. Neymar has a release clause of £199 million in his current contract and club officials at the Nou Camp would be powerless to stop the player’s departure should an appropriate offer be received.

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Arsenal are also in a weak negotiating position with Sanchez’s current deal set to expire at the end of the season, leaving The Gunners facing the prospect of losing their most valuable asset for nothing in twelve months time. With no new contract looking likely, Arsene Wenger would prefer to sell the Chilean to PSG rather than to a direct rival in England.

Reports in the media suggest that both players have already agreed contracts with PSG in principle, leaving chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Antero Henrique with the task of negotiating deals with their current clubs.

The hierarchy at PSG are keen to reassert the club’s domestic dominance after AS Monaco won the French title last season whilst they want to see the club challenge for European trophies. The arrival of Neymar and Sanchez would provide the team with the star-quality and enthusiasm to re-energise the first team squad whilst enhancing the cub’s reputation across the globe.

Any potential deal for the duo is likely to take a considerable amount of time to complete but, if successful, could be the spark that results in PSG becoming a true European football superpower.

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Martyn Cooke

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

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