If the transfers of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva do go through, just exactly where does this leave other French clubs in the league, particularly Lille and Montpellier.
Last season PSG splashed the cash buying Kevin Gameiro, Milan Biševac, Jérémy Ménez, Blaise Matuidi, Mohamed Sissoko, Salvatore Sirigu, Javier Pastore, Diego Lugano, Maxwell, Alex and Thiago Motta for around €110m but still missed out on the title to Montpellier on the last day of the season, whose squad is a fraction of that amount when you included wages as well.
Both Montpellier and Lille won the league for the first time in their history in recent seasons. Lille’s rise has come over the least 10 years, but they have really come into prominence since current manager, Rudi Garcia, was put appointed in 2008. Between then and now Lille finished 4th, won the Championship and last season finished 3rd also having a decent time in Europe.
Montpellier on the other hand have had a more meteoric rise. In the 2008-2009 season Montpellier finished 2nd, in the Ligue 2! The next season in Ligue 1 Montpellier had a great season finishing 5th and qualifying for the Europa League but next season they finish 14th. No one expected that by the end of next season that they would be Champions!
What Lille and Montpellier have done in the last few seasons have been truly amazing. With no large sums of money they have managed to play attractive football and win the League. They have nurtured talents such as Eden Hazard and Younès Belhanda and revolutionized the French League, which over the years has lost some of it charm or excitement. With many of the better players having left for England, Spain and Germany it was nice to see talent staying and growing in the French League
But now with the money that PSG have things could change, for better or for worse, we don’t know yet. Just when it seemed that a League was being won by football and not money, the French league is going to have a wealth of talent coming in, but at a price, potentially a huge one.
Lille, Montpellier and the majority of other French clubs are just not going to be able to compete with PSG when it comes to the transfer market and as we have seen with Chelsea and most recently Manchester City in the Premiership, big money will bring big players and eventually the trophies. I have no bitterness towards Chelsea and City, as they are breaking no rules, but it does give an unfair advantage. It’s like picking a side in school and choosing kids from a year up.
Look at Formula 1. They have put everyone pretty much on as equal a playing field, as possible anyway, and it has made for much more entreating viewing as well as for a more diverse group of winners. There is so much more to it now than just the car now. A mistake in the pit, poor judgement on the track and that’s you out of contention for the podium.
It would be nice to see football a little more like this. If financial fair play works out well then we could see a more levelled playing field, but right now there is still an unfair advantage for clubs that have money and those that don’t.
It is a real achievement what Lille and Montpellier managed to do over the last few years, it’s fair to say that the game of football had won, but now if PSG do manage to sign Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, and God knows who else this summer, then they have a great chance at winning the league, but for me it would be a little tainted.