untung99.biz: Kylian Mbappeless PSG look weaker than ever during chaotic preseason as club aims to find stability

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Paris Saint-Germain’s preseason is not going according to plan with the French champions still at a standoff with star man Kylian Mbappe over his future and suffering poor results on the field during a tour of Asia while other big-name players are potentially on the verge of leaving. Head coach Luis Enrique is doing his best to get to grips with his new players just weeks into the job but uncertainty clouds PSG right now with the new Ligue 1 season less than two weeks away and major questions still unanswered.

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We break down what has largely been a summer to forget for Les Parisiens so far.

Mbappe’s future

The biggest topic right now in the PSG universe is the future of their French superstar. Mbappe’s deadline to opt to extend his contract in Paris through the terms of his current deal expired earlier this week and the player is now considered transferable by his employers. Real Madrid’s interest in the France international captain is well known, but there has been no indication so far that the Spanish giants will make an offer for the 24-year-old. PSG is convinced that Mbappe and Real already have agreed terms for next summer which is why he wants to see out his deal and leave for free to the point where he did not even engage with a potential world-record move to Al Hilal. Ousmane Dembele’s imminent arrival from Barcelona and the pursuit of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani could change Mbappe’s thinking regarding the chances of UEFA Champions League success, but that is unlikely to be enough right now given how things are going on the field.

Potential departures

PSG have moved on a few players such as Mauro Icardi and El Chadaille Bitshiabu on top of Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos after their contracts expired but the bigger names such as Marco Verratti, Neymar and even Marquinhos are proving harder to shift. Saudi Arabia has shown interest in all three and while the French giants are not yet willing to sell their captain, the Italian and Brazilian stars have barely featured on the Asian tour. Verratti is already waiting for PSG and Al Hilal to agree terms over his proposed move and Neymar has not yet played since ankle surgery back in March so his true level of fitness is unknown. Should sporting advisor Luis Campos manage to bring in funds by selling at least one of Verratti or Neymar, the squad could look different with Dembele and Kolo Muani added to it. However, it does not solve the issue of potentially having Mbappe and Neymar on the fringes going into the 2023-24 campaign. The current “loft” of unwanted players training in Paris while the team is in Japan and South Korea cannot exist beyond the current transfer window so time is ticking for PSG to find solutions.

Disappointing results

Although preseason form does not count for too much, especially when bedding in a new head coach, staff and players, two losses and one draw in Asia is not great when factored into the overall situation. The goals conceded against Cerezo Osaka and Inter will have annoyed Luis Enrique who has already seen his team fail to score against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi side with the only win coming against Le Havre before Mbappe was left at home when the tour began. With one final friendly against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to come before heading back to France and no Trophee des Champions to start the campaign, PSG’s Ligue 1 opener against FC Lorient risks being far from ideal with Mbappe unlikely to feature as things stand.

New signings and staff

It is safe to say that Luis Enrique probably wished for a smoother first few weeks in charge of PSG even if he was aware of the situation between Mbappe and the club before he agreed to take charge. Teething issues are to be expected when a new boss and his staff arrive as the players adapt to those methods, but the Spanish tactician is bedding in a raft of new signings while there are still a number of injured players too. Milan Skriniar, Marco Asensio, Manuel Ugarte, Lee Kang In, Lucas Hernandez, Cher Ndour and Arnau Tenas have all checked in recently while Neymar is not yet fit to feature, Verratti has been used sparingly and Mbappe has not been used since he scored against Le Havre. Presnel Kimpembe, Nuno Mendes and Nordi Mukiele are still working their way back to full fitness, so it will be a while before Luis Enrique can even consider himself to have any sort of clarity on the squad that he can pick his preferred starting XI from. That is before considering Dembele and Kolo Muani who could be added to the mix before the transfer window closes.

PSG weaker than ever?

All signs point towards PSG being extremely vulnerable at the start of this Ligue 1 season with RC Lens, Olympique Lyonnais, OGC Nice, Olympique de Marseille and Stade Rennais all inside the opening eight domestic fixtures. Even the seemingly more straightforward games against the likes of Lorient and Toulouse are not that easy given that Les Merlus won at Parc des Princes just before Messi’s ill-advised Saudi trip earlier in the year which sparked mayhem. The French champions were top from the off last term but that might prove tougher this time around which could set PSG up for a tricky campaign ahead which should reinforce the sense of urgency around resolving major questions such as Mbappe’s future. There has never been a better time to target a potential title tilt against a Parisien outfit which has struggled under Mauricio Pochettino, Christophe Galtier and now could do the same under Luis Enrique.

PSG’s preseason slate

  • July 21 — PSG 2-0 Le Havre
  • July 22 — Japan and South Korea Tour 2023 starts
  • July 25 — PSG 0-0 Al-Nassr in Osaka
  • July 28 — PSG 2-3 Cerezo in Osaka
  • August 1 — PSG 1-2 Inter in Tokyo
  • August 3 — PSG vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai in Busan
  • August 4 — Japan and South Korea Tour 2023 ends
  • August 12 — PSG vs. Lorient (Ligue 1 opener)