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PSG’s Attempt at Super Team Fails: Here’s Why The £807m Project Fell Apart

According to the great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, “Football is a simple game.” But achieving success in the sport involves more than just signing top players, as PSG fans can relate to.

YWHIMD462ZIU3OP2FSQGFBUJY4 PSG's Attempt at Super Team Fails: Here's Why The £807m Project Fell Apart
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – RC Strasbourg v Paris St Germain – Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, France – May 27, 2023 Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

As PSG get ready to bid farewell to their main man Kylian Mbappe from the Parc de Princes as he’s already informed the club of his desire to not renew his contract, marks the final chapter of PSG’s lucrative dynasty.

The World Cup Winner has reportedly given his green light to Real Madrid to sign him in the summer after having publicly refused to sign another contract extension with the French Giants. It is an indication from the player that he wishes to move to the Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer after his current deal expires.

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End of an Era: PSG’s Costly Pursuit of European Glory Comes to a Close

It marks a significant setback for the current Ligue 1 Champions, who have poured substantial resources into the Parisian since his first arrival at the club and bids adieu to the club’s dismal period of lavish spending.

PSG were absolutely resolute on dominating Europe with the help of a super team for the ages and in the process of doing so were ready to spend any amount feasable. And it began with luring Barcelona’s Neymar for a world record fee of £190million and French wonderkid Mbappe from Monaco for £163m in 2017.

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Kyllian Mbappe Ousmane Dembele Image via Reuters PSG's Attempt at Super Team Fails: Here's Why The £807m Project Fell Apart
Soccer Football – Paris St Germain Training – Paris-Saint-Germain Training Centre, Poissy, France – August 18, 2023 Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe with Ousmane Dembele during training REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

To make this dynamic duo work over the next few years, the likes of Mauro Icardi, Leandro Paredes, Abdou Diallo and Thilo Kehrer were all signed for a transfer fee in the range of £30m or more. But to PSG’s dismay all of these transfers were abysmal and never succeeded at the club.  

And after consecutive Champions League exits in the Round-of-16 during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Seasons, the Parisians finally reached the finals of the tournament for the first time in their history in the 2019-20 Season.

Despite for all the hopes bestowed on the attacking duo of Neymar and Mbappe, the Qatari-funded club failed to lift the trophy as European Silverware eluded them once again. Bayern Munich seized a narrow 1-0 victory in the final. 

PSG’s Failed Galacticos II Project: A Tale of Lavish Spending and Missed Opportunities

Following their loss in the semi-finals to Manchester City the following year, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi doubled down by securing the signing of Lionel Messi from Barcelona in August 2021. It was a final attempt to assemble the most desirable front three in world football.

Messi’s arrival coincided with PSG’s offer of a lucrative contract extension to Neymar, increasing his salary from £596,000 to £957,000 per week, just below Messi’s £1.08m-a-week deal ensuring Neymar’s presence at the Parc de Princes is continued.

Mbappe Neymar Messi Image via Reuters PSG's Attempt at Super Team Fails: Here's Why The £807m Project Fell Apart
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Paris St Germain v OGC Nice – Parc des Princes, Paris, France – October 1, 2022 Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PSG made stupid decisions regarding to the fees they kept offering to their star players especially to their attacking trio of Messi, Neymar & Mbappe. As a reason the wage bill took hits and with that s did their Champions League aspirations as they suffered Champions League exits one after the other. In the 2021-22 Season PSG faced off against Real Madrid in the Round-of-16, the club they’ve always been jealous of have and wanted to emulate.

Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the first leg of their last 16 tie against Real Madrid in 2022, PSG suffered a surprising 3-2 aggregate defeat, with the Spanish giants also on the verge of tempting Mbappe to join them.

LYNXMPEI281D2 PSG's Attempt at Super Team Fails: Here's Why The £807m Project Fell Apart
Soccer Football – Champions League – Round of 16 Second Leg – Real Madrid v Paris St Germain – Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain – March 9, 2022 Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Juan Medina

Refusing to abandon their project, PSG knew that very well that if they had to win anything important other than their league title they’d have to convince Mbappe to stay at any cost. And they really did pull all the strings as PSG persuaded Mbappe with the help of French President to stay with a record-breaking lucrative deal worth £1.22m per year, granting him significant influence over board decisions as well.

From the time when Mbappe was signed from Monaco in 2017 until his contract expiration in June, PSG will have spent an astonishing £807m on their front three alone, including transfer fees and wages, with their salaries totaling over £450m.

Mbappe’s contract extension led to conflicts in Paris, particularly regarding his preferred position on the pitch, causing tension with former manager Christophe Galtier. The reason being Mbappe preferred to play more on the left wing and having less defensive roles like the way he plays with France with less defensive burdens and playing in the left wing rather than a number 9.

H2F4BQ5IMBKO7EAGKDPSZ7H4ZU PSG's Attempt at Super Team Fails: Here's Why The £807m Project Fell Apart
Soccer Football – Champions League – Round of 16 – Second Leg – Bayern Munich v Paris St Germain – Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany – March 8, 2023 Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry scores their second goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The Champions League exit to Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the 2022-23 season marked the end for the unfamous attacking trio of Neymar, Mbappe and Messi at PSG, as both the South Americans opted to move to new clubs outside of Europe.

Neymar joined Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia on a staggering £128m-per-year deal, while Messi joined Inter Miami in MLS.

PSG’s Galacticos II project will be remembered as a significant financial investment with minimal returns, with questionable transfers and an inability to adapt contributing to its downfall.

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