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[OPINION] €400m doesn't always buy a team

Paris Saint-Germain spent over €400 million in the 2017/18 transfer window. They also spent over €130 million in the 2016/17 transfer window. It is clear that this mass spending is to have the French side competing at the higher levels in the UEFA Champions League – Europe’s most prestigious club competition. How else would you justify a club, which dominates the domestic league and cups, spending over €500 million in two years?

From a financial perspective, PSG lost over €75 million on transfers followed by another €144.6 million loss in the 2017/18 season. The French side seem to have weekend specials as their transfer market accountants. For a team that were eliminated at the same stage as Arsenal last season, the spending-to-success rate is alarming to say the least. Arsene Wenger would be happy in the knowledge that his club’s lack of success can (arguably) be attributed to fiscal limitations.

The acquisition of Neymar Jr, who was sidelined for the second leg against Real Madrid, is a transfer that I can agree with. Considering his form at Barcelona, international accomplishments and experience, who wouldn’t want a player like him? Kylian Mbappe’s transfer is where my issues lie. Club culture seems to have evolved. Every club wants an up-and-coming "superstar" and clubs are paying hundreds of millions for these players. In today’s market, I wonder at what rate Cristiano Ronaldo would have been bought by Real Madrid. But more importantly, I wonder at what point in his career the move would be done. After his first two seasons when he showed promise at Manchester United? Or perhaps a move straight from Sporting Lisbon?

The amount spent by PSG was meant to have them reach (at least) the quarter-finals of the Champions League and to be competing with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. I do not, for one moment, think that Neymar’s injury was the main reason PSG did not get past Real Madrid.

They have bought players who have brilliant individual skill. Every acquisition of theirs is a world-class player by no stretch of the imagination. Perhaps they overlooked how the likes of Mbappe, Edison Cavani, Neymar and Angel di Maria would complement each other.

Spending over €400 million doesn’t always buy a team, but perhaps it bought PSG manager Umai Emery a bunch of individuals. If football has taught us anything, it’s that individuals don’t win trophies; teams do.

Portugal proved that to us in Euro 2016 – and who knows, Liverpool may do that too.

Ahmed Kajee is an intern at Eyewitness News.

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