Friday, 18 May 2012

Blanc leaves Sakho and Gameiro singing the bleus

I like CSI: Miami, but apparently I'm the only one
I'm sure I'm not the only PSG fan who accidentally writes CSI rather than QSI sometimes when referring to the club's Qatari owners.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi and chums are but a keystroke away from being an elite band of crime-scene technicians, specialising in solving murders while reeling off perplexing dialogue at 100mph.

This week QSI have a couple of (metaphorical) bodies on their hands in the form of the international careers of Mamadou Sakho and Kevin Gameiro. You may have seen that the pair were overlooked by France boss Laurent Blanc when he completed the drawn-out process of naming his preliminary squad for Euro 2012 earlier this week.

At the back Blanc selected uncapped Montpellier stopper Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa over Sakho, while at the other end of the field the former Bordeaux boss has only chosen three proper strikers: Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud, and Loic Remy.

"Mamadou is going through a delicate spell with his club," explained Larry White. "With Younes injured I needed a centre-half who is ready to play. Given the season he's had and the context, Mapou could be in a very positive frame of mind, so we judged he's the most apt to play the role."

This situation would have seemed scarcely believable 12 months ago. Sakho had been a regular in Blanc's squad since making his debut against England back in October 2010, while Gameiro has also featured a lot for Les Bleus since the new boss was installed after the last World Cup. Both enjoyed excellent 2010/11 seasons, and were expected to be shining in the all-new PSG.

But it hasn't happened. As we've discussed before, Sakho has been pretty poor this season, his form typified by the clumsy play which led to the - albeit harsh - penalty decision against Lille. And despite a good initial impact, Gameiro has faded badly, and in recent months has rarely featured in the starting line-up.

We're talking about two excellent Ligue 1 players, who really should be in the France squad every time, and their exclusion is bound to make both question their futures. It is easy to see Sakho re-establishing himself in the team next season; after all he's still very young for a defender and is the darling of the Parc-des-Princes. But for Gameiro the future looks a bit bleak, with a big-money striker sure to arrive this summer to further block his path to the first-team. And although he's tried his best up front on his own, his physique is not that of a player suited to the lone striker's role.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Sakho and Gameiro, along with other under-used squad members such as Clement Chantome, this summer, but I fear our rivals may benefit from a few bargains as PSG bling up the squad in preparation for next year's assault on the Champions League. 


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