Can Neymar inspire PSG to Champions League glory?
By Anthony Kendrick - Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/Ant_Kendrick
PSG had a disappointing season last year, finishing second to Monaco in the league and crashing out of the Champions League to Barcelona in dramatic fashion. Unai Emery was the big arrival, with a reputation for being an excellent tactician. He had previously masterminded the Europa League successes at Sevilla.
PSG have had some success in Europe, but it is clear the owners want the club to be considered alongside Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona. The signing of Neymar sent shockwaves through the world of football, and the rights or wrongs of it can be debated. But, the bottom line is that he is now a PSG player and is a part of possibly the most formidable front three in Europe with Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani.
PSG have shown glimpses of the potential that is clearly there, knocking out Chelsea in the Champions League and in their 4-0 first leg victory over Barcelona. Their side also has the talents of Marco Verratti, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos. When full backs Yuri and Dani Alves, stolen from under the nose of Manchester City are added to that, on paper it competes with anyone in Europe. The likes of Julian Draxler and Blaise Matuidi, both very good talents are even considered surplus to requirements.
Neymar will not only add his obvious talent to the side, but will galvanise them. Zlatan Ibrahimovic clearly had an effect on the dressing room at PSG. To suggest Neymar is the same would be incorrect, but it is obvious that he will inspire PSG to move up a level.
The French league is not as competitive as La Liga or the Premier League, with PSG expected to win. This could be debated as both a positive and a negative. On one hand, they could focus all of their resources and attention on the Champions League, resting players domestically before crucial games. On the other hand, not playing at the very top level every week could leave the side out of match practice at the highest stage.
I think that the former will be a bigger factor, and I am tipping PSG for Champions League glory this season. They have some pedigree, and the only side which for me can compete is Real Madrid.