Wednesday, 23 January 2013

So long Lugano; PSG's Dorian Gray is Leonardo's latest failure

It has long been my suspicion that Diego Lugano has a secret picture of himself hidden away in his attic.

Given the form he’s showed during his rare appearances for Paris Saint-Germain in the last 18 months, I imagine the portrait of Uruguayan defender is hideously disfigured; there can be no other explanation for his steadfastly youthful good looks other than that he sold his soul some years ago and is actually 67.

Lugano, age supposedly 32, left the Parc-des-Princes yesterday bound for the sunnier climes of Malaga, who have taken him on loan until the end of the season with an option to buy. One can only assume this an extreme act of charity from one Qatari-owned side to another because, as Jonathan Johnson notes in this piece, it’s difficult to name one positive contribution he’s made during his time in France, other than amusing me with these quotes about his “really good” contract.

On paper, Lugano seemed an ideal signing, joining the club to add experience to an area of the pitch where we were short of options at the time. But it soon became apparent his legs had gone, most notably when he put in an embarrassing performance as PSG were tonked 3-0 in Marseille last November.

Another of last summer’s recruits, Momo Sissoko, could be on his way before the end of the month having slipped down the midfield pecking order, and their potential departures got me thinking about our dear Director of Football, Leonardo, and his record in the transfer market. Let’s look at the players who have come in since QSI took over and Leo has been in charge of recruitment.

Milan Bisevac – Obviously a Kombouare signing, already gone. Verdict: N/A.
Jeremy Menez – First team regular, one of our better performers this season. Hit.
Blaise Matuidi – A one-man midfield. Hit.
Mohamed Sissoko – Bit of a liability, gets sent off a lot, probably going. Miss.
Salvatore Sirigu – Outstanding keeper who arrived at a bargain €3.5million. Hit.
Javier Pastore – Time is running out for him, has rarely performed like a €42million man. Jury still out.
Diego Lugano – See above. Miss.
Maxwell – Solid, reliable, does what it says on his Brazilian tin. Hit.
Alex – Mobility not the best, useful to have around for attacking set plays. Better than Sakho? Hmm. Jury still out.
Thiago Motta – Injured a lot, debatable if he’s even first choice anymore. Jury still out.

Ezequiel Lavezzi – Settled in well after early problems. Hit.
Thiago Silva – Say no more. Hit.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan says Zlatan is a hit, and I for one won’t be arguing with him. Hit.
Marco Verratti – Great potential, of which we saw flashes earlier in the season. Hit.
Greg van der Wiel – Better than Jallet? Not so far. Jury still out.
Lucas Moura – Too early to tell. Expensive. N/A.

I make that eight hits versus six non-hits. 

Then consider that two of the hits, Thiago Silva and Zlatan, are two of the biggest names in world football. You don’t need to be a genius to know they’d improve any team, and was it the lure of Leo that was key to their arrival, or the prospect of loads of lucre?

Similarly, you can’t imagine Leonardo was much of a factor in the arrival of Matuidi – a Ligue 1 player who PSG could conceivably have brought even without their Arab cash.

Suddenly, his record doesn’t look great, and that’s before you take into account the embarrassing transfer misses with Beckham and Pato, and his dalliance with Rafa Benitez. All in all the Brazilian hasn't covered himself in glory since his arrival.

I used to think Leo was a nice chap, but since he took charge of PSG he reminds me more and more of Georges Duroy, the main character in Maupassant’s Bel Ami. Despite having no discernible talent other than being a smooth talker, Duroy rises to a position of power by manipulating rich people.

If we fail to win anything this season, no doubt Ancelotti will be the one who gets the boot. But in the event of failure, QSI might be better served looking at the future of their own Bel Ami instead.


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