Friday, 6 July 2012

The Rumour Mill: Changing of the guard at the Parc-des-Princes

As a child your parents always inflict terrible stuff on you: pudding-bowl haircuts, days out bird-watching, Brussels sprouts and so on.

Aside from ornithology, one of the most boring trips I remember from my youth was going to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. For those not familiar, this (in my eyes) overly long process marks the shift-change between the soldiers guarding Her Maj: Cue much, pomp, ceremony, marching and lots of silly hats.

There's something of a changing of the guard going on at the Parc-des-Princes at present. Though less boring, the Paris Saint-Germain version is a lot grubbier, and involves several good servants of the club being pushed out to make way for new arrivals.

Verr-y good news from Italy?

Let's start with the incoming, and it seems likely PSG will beat Juventus and Napoli to the signing of Pescara midfielder Marco Verratti. The diminutive playmaker, who may or may not be known as the Messi of the Adriatic, has been in discussions with Leo over a €14million transfer, and with neither of his Italian suitors 
prepared to match that price a move to France is looking likely for the 19-year-old.

"It was very constructive," said Verratti's agent, the extremely Italian-sounding Donato Di Campli. "We spoke to everyone involved in the deal and, obviously, everyone set out their demands. I can safely say that PSG are extremely interested in signing the player.

"We agreed to take some time to think over the offer: we'll be speaking to each other again in the next few days, although we don’t know whether that meeting will take place in Milan or Paris. Everyone involved has to decide where the best place to meet again will be." 

Milan? Paris? Even if the transfer doesn't happen, at least we can expect some exciting meeting-based news in the next few days.

Lyon lust after Parisien pair

Once upon a time Lyon were the big noise in French football, splashing cash on star names and winning the title every year with their eyes closed. But austerity is the name of the game down in the Rhone Valley these days, and formerly free-spending president Jean-Michel Aulas is reduced to trying to cadge a couple of loans from PSG.

Sadly, he looks set to succeed in luring Clement Chantome to the Stade Gerland on a season-long loan deal. Much-loved by the PdP faithful, Chantome didn't get much game-time last year and Ancelotti confirmed earlier this week that he had asked for a transfer. PSG and Lyon are currently discussing a year-long loan switch.

"He [Chantome] is an excellent player. The loan is possible because I have excellent relations with PSG," said Aulas. Rumour has it OL would also like to take Mamadou Sakho on loan in the wake of the defenders comments in L'Equipe this week:

"If a defender comes, I'll do everything to leave," said Sakho, gathering up his toys and launching them out of the pram. "I have to think about my future. My goal this season is to play.

"I will be open to proposals from clubs willing to give me playing time and allow me to continue my progress. I think I can wear another jersey in Ligue 1, to show that PSG were wrong not to trust me."

I've made my feelings on Sakho perfectly clear before - we should be building our defence around him, not marginalising him. At the same time no player is bigger than the club and comments like this aren't very helpful, though I understand his frustrations. The club don't seem to want to sell him anyway, so it's probably a moot point, and even if they did I'd hope he'd set his sights a bit higher than Lyon.

Nene is still on the look-out for a new contract, and has again been linked with a move to Spanish side Malaga, another side under middle-Eastern ownership. Bearing that in mind the Brazilian could be about to swap one expensive frying pan for a gold-plated fire.


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