Is this PSG's best chance to win the Champions League?
With other big sides stumbling, it could be the Ligue 1 giant's time to claim Europe's biggest prize
The moment that Qatar Sports Investments and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi walked through the doors at the Parc des Princes, only one question was on everyone’s lips.
How long until they win the Champions League?
A question that has seemed more rhetorical than real over the last six seasons of the QSI reign until now and more than ever, this could be their best possible chance to claim the big one they’ve been desperate for.
For starters, the talent is there. Bringing in the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, regardless of their enormous price-tags, would take any team to the next level and instantly PSG became contenders with them in the fold.
The Brazilian comes not only with quality but Champions League-winning experience, something that the team desperately needed more of. Not only that, they added to it with Dani Alves, who proved last season that he was nowhere near over the hill and was arguably the best player in the tournament during Juventus’ run to the final.
When you mix that with the likes of Edinson Cavani operating in the middle, Julian Draxler allowed to play in his preferred role as a number 10 and Marco Verratti as the creative one supplying them all, they become a real potent attacking force.
And it’s one Europe should be all too aware of.
Putting aside their dominance in France, they’ve been just as, if not, more impressive on the continent so far this season. They’ve brushed aside all opposition so far and while many will say they aren’t in the toughest of groups, beating a team like Bayern Munich so handily was a real statement of intent.
With that, let's glance at the other teams competing for the crown. They’ve already beaten one big-hitter, the current holders Real Madrid are second in their group while Barcelona have regularly made it tough for themselves in theirs, especially away from home.
In fact, the only obvious contender is another money-rich club in Manchester City, who have been purring all season long. With both likely finishing top, they shouldn’t meet Pep Guardiola’s men until they get to the business end of the competitions.
That’s where the real questions lie in terms of whether they can win it all. Many remember the bottle job in the Camp Nou last season and no doubt it will still be fresh in the memory of those in the squad too but this season will be the perfect test of their mental strength.
Has it become a weakness or have they harnessed that hurt into a determination not to repeat the mistakes of the past?
The defence is still a worry too, having looked shaky a little too often this season. Blitzing teams is disguising that fact and when they’ve come under real pressure, like against Marseille recently, they have cracked.
Along with that comes the fears that still linger about Unai Emery and his ability to really make them a superpower. Some of his switches before games, especially when Neymar was out against Angers, were superb but he’s yet to show both the strength of conviction and tactical nous to make the tough decisions within games to change things around.
This is quite clearly Paris Saint-Germain’s best chance to win the Champions League, so far. With a number of factors weighing in their favour, there should be no doubt that European football’s top prize is finally within their reach.
While a few niggles here and there may just stop them short of wearing the crown, the club is gathering momentum. That financial clout is finally making a substantial difference, making the question become much more of a when rather than an if.