Why PSG signing Gianluigi Buffon is a terrible idea
Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are already closing in on their first superstar signing of the summer, having apparently agreed terms with outgoing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon on a two-year deal.
According to Italy's Corriere dello Sport, the Old Lady legend will put pen to paper on a lucrative deal to move to the French capital, dashing any faint hopes that Liverpool reportedly had of luring him to England's top-flight.
Financial Fair Play still an issue to consider
On one level, you can understand this move entirely. However toothless UEFA may seem to their detractors, PSG are likely to face heavy sanctions from Europe's governing body unless they bring their accounts in line with Financial Fair Play rules.
Shifting deadwood like Grzegorz Krychowiak and Jese this summer is one way that can be accomplished, but will mean nothing without similar changes to their recruitment strategy under new management. Simply put, the club need to forget about champagne for a little while and start drinking Coca-Cola instead.
Buffon, available on a free this summer after an emotional farewell in Turin, fits into that mould nicely. Unlike Jan Oblak, Alisson and Gianluigi Donnarumma - other goalkeepers linked with PSG - the club will not have to spend anything to bring him on-board.
Having played at the highest level for more than two decades - longer than some teammates have been alive - the Italian also brings a wealth of big game experience and a dressing room presence that, as football pundits are forever reminding us, is invaluable in cultivating a winning mentality.
But, Buffon is clearly past his best
However, therein lies part of the problem. In order to command the authority of your peers, name and consequent stature value alone is not enough. If Buffon cannot walk the walk himself any longer, ordering the likes of Neymar and Edinson Cavani around probably isn't going to go down very well.
That's not to imply that the 40-year-old is completely spent as a player. Compared to most goalkeepers, he's still one of the best around and was trusted by Massimiliano Allegri to start all but one of their ten Champions League fixtures this past season.
However, it's also blatantly clear that he can no longer reach the lofty heights he once set for himself. Over recent seasons, his game has been strewn with errors - not necessarily those of the Loris Karius kind, but things like not getting down quickly enough to block low shots that a younger alternative would easily stop.
PSG are supposed to be aiming for success in the so-far elusive Champions League, a competition in which small details, small mistakes, make a massive difference in determining which team goes on to lift the trophy. They can ill-afford to accommodate a passenger, much less between their sticks.
With respect to Buffon's career, this move - much like bringing in a 37-year-old David Beckham in 2013 - looks less like one that will actually help them on the pitch than it does a vanity signing designed to increase the team's star power.