Wednesday felt like it could be the end of an era for PSG after crashing out of Champions League yet again at the hands of Bayern Munich. But while a lot of that is due to the uncertainty surrounding Lionel Messi and Neymar, the player who can really make waves is Kylian Mbappe.
Already coming close to joining Real Madrid in the past, the Paris native wants to win and that's something that PSG haven't done on the continental stage. Sure, winning eight out of the last 10 Ligue 1 titles is great but this is a team built for Champions League play. Making it to the final in 2020 only to lose at the hands of Bayern Munich then as well, this is a result that had to feel like a bit of deja vu for the club.
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Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, a CBS Sports studio analyst, called for Mbappe to leave for Real Madrid and depart a club that isn't prepared to win the biggest of trophies after another early exit.
"He's got to leave," Carragher said on the UEFA Champions League Post-Match Show. "I really do believe that he's got to leave. They're nowhere near winning the Champions League. I don't think it's going to get better next season if that squad stays and the quicker he's at Real Madrid the better.
"To go out five times in the last 16 is a joke. In an ideal world, you want lots of money and expertise in the transfer market and they just haven't got it. Sergio Ramos is one of the best players the world has ever seen in my position, a serial winner, but go and buy the best young center backs in the world and not players like that."
In a way, Carragher is right because PSG's recruitment strategy or lack thereof feels off and it limits them from competing with clubs like Bayern who have a clear recruitment strategy. While PSG were dealing with injuries, when a club reaches their stature, injuries don't matter as much as you have every resource available to ensure that there is depth everywhere. Balancing playing time for talented players is a challenge that depth can cause but it's something that world-class managers can deal with because the eye is on the prize of winning. PSG have not been shy when it comes to trying to acquire some of the world's best players, but a lack of recruitment in defense, especially centrally, has played a role in that downfall as well.
“He’s got to leave…The quicker he’s at Real Madrid the better”@Carra23 has his say on Kylian Mbappe. pic.twitter.com/80JT28HCZQ— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 8, 2023
Moving forward, it's a critical time for PSG as they either need to put all their chips in and see what happens if Mbappe is given more control or potentially come to terms with his potential departure. Surrounding Mbappe with aging stars and an unreliable Neymar isn't the way to go and will likely only continue PSG's cycle of almost getting where they want to be and then falling flat. Thierry Henry, France and Arsenal legend, suggested that the club look to acquire more players who would identify with the club, those who would be fans and willing to give their everything. He specifically suggested Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani and Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thurham, the latter the son of his former France teammate, Lillian Thurham.
But getting a group that buys into the team mentality and supports Mbappe's vision -- that's something that could make players play for each other give them a better chance of getting over the hump.