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Why PSG Had the Best Transfer Window Ever in 2021

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Now owned by Qatar, PSG came into money when their club was taken over by Middle Eastern owners. Their first major signing was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and the capital club has since gone on to establish themselves as the undisputed top dogs in Ligue 1.

They came extremely close to winning the Champions League in 2020, making it to the finals under Thomas Tuchel. However, the team was defeated by Bayern Munich who went on to lift their sixth Champions League title.

Tuchel was subsequently sacked, and Mauricio Pochettino was brought in to replace him. After an underwhelming first season by their standards, Pochettino has come into possession of a dream team in 21/22. This is the list of all the transfers they made:

  • Achraf Hakimi (€60m/Inter)
  • Danilo Pereira (€16m/Porto)
  • Gigi Donnarumma (free/Milan)
  • Sergio Ramos (free/Real Madrid)
  • Gini Wijnaldum (free/Liverpool)
  • Lionel Messi (free/Barcelona)

Here's why PSG's performance in the 2021 transfer window goes down as the greatest in history.

In total, PSG spent €76 million on two players as transfer fees, Danilo Pereira and Achraf Hakimi.

Danilo Pereira: €16 million (Porto)

Pereira was initially on a loan deal at PSG from Porto, and the deal expired at the end of the previous season. PSG decided to make his move permanent for €16 million, and the defensive midfielder now has a four-year contract with the club.

Achraf Hakimi: €60 million (Inter Milan)

Hakimi joined Inter Milan in 2020 from Real Madrid after spending two years on loan at Borussia Dortmund. The Moroccan was very impressive in the Bundesliga, and after making the move to Serie A, he developed further under Antonio Conte.

However, Inter's dire financial situation forced them to sell some of their star players to raise funds in order to run the club. Hakimi attracted interest from Chelsea and PSG but ultimately chose the French club as his next destination.

The 22-year-old is one of the best full-backs in the world and is the long-term solution for PSG's woes in the right-back position, which was previously filled by Thomas Meunier and Alessandro Florenzi.

Free Transfers

This is where PSG managed to surpass every last bit of expectation. They signed four of the world's most highly-rated players as free agents and paid no transfer fee for their signature apart from the personal terms agreed between them and the players.

Gini Wijnaldum (Liverpool to PSG)

Wijnaldum was offered an extension by Liverpool several times prior to the expiry of his contract. However, the Netherlands international wanted more than the Merseyside club could pay him.

As a result, he ran down his contract and ended his time at Anfield as a free agent. Wijnaldum was very close to joining Barcelona, after scheduling a medical assessment with them and agreeing on personal terms as well.

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However, PSG swooped in at the eleventh hour and offered Wijnaldum a much better financial offer than the Blaugrana. The deal with PSG was wrapped up very quickly, and he snubbed the offer given by Barcelona and a chance to reunite with former Netherlands national team coach Ronald Koeman in the process.

Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan to PSG)

Donnarumma debuted as the second-youngest goalkeeper in Serie A for boyhood club AC Milan. He was in discussions for a new deal, but his financial demands were not matched by the Rossoneri.

His agent, Mino Raiola, then offered him to PSG and the keeper was recruited as a free agent. Donnarumma was awarded the Player of the Tournament award at Euro 2020, as his performances between the sticks helped Italy win the European Championships, despite heading into the competition as underdogs.

Donnarumma will now compete for game time with Keylor Navas and is certainly one for the future due to his sheer talent and past record for Milan.

Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid to PSG)

Ramos ended his 15-year tenure with Real Madrid after his contract expired. As one of the best captains in the history of the club, Ramos led them to four Champions League trophies, with three of them coming in succession.

The player wanted a two-year deal with Real, but they were only willing to offer him one. And when Ramos agreed to a one-year deal, it was past the deadline for the offer.

PSG were the only club in contact with Ramos' agent, and they made an offer for him once it became clear that he wasn't renewing with Madrid.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona to PSG)

PSG signed the greatest player in the history of football on a free transfer after he could not renew his contract with Barcelona.

Messi has signed a two-year deal with the French club and has finally been reunited with Neymar, as both players wished for. The Argentinian is the most expensive free agent to be signed in the history of football, with a market value of €80 million.

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Mitchel Bakker: €7 million (PSG to Bayer Leverkusen)

Bakker remains the only player to be sold by PSG this summer. The Ajax academy graduate left for Bayer Leverkusen in Germany and signed a four-year contract with them.

In Summary

With the net expenses for transfers, PSG has a record of -€69 million, including the deals for Hakimi, Pereira, and the sale of Bakker.

However, their free signings are valued at €80 million (Lionel Messi), €30 million (Wijnaldum), €10 million (Ramos), and €65 million (Donnarumma). In total, PSG recruited €185 million worth of players for no transfer fees. All these players were stars for their previous clubs, and have enough brilliance to make any team better.

So, with the nature of these deals, it is clear that PSG has outdone every other club in the transfer window, and their business in 2021 will go down in history as one of the best ever.

© 2022 Abdul Karim

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