Whilst Chelsea’s disappointing draw with PSG earlier this month left many fans of European football somewhat disappointed with the spectacle, the match nevertheless had several of the world’s most expensive and highly valued talents on offer for global spectators to enjoy. It may have been a match that eventually displayed very little, but with the second leg now set up in real dramatic style, the overall tie remains a very exciting prospect.
Both Laurent Blanc and Jose Mourinho currently reside over two of the most expensive sides in Europe. The big spending clubs have splashed out what some would deem a quite frankly obscene amount of money in recent years, but as sensible financial perspective is very rarely deployed in the world of Champions League football, their respective transfer activity has only served to add to the hype of the game.
With the two sides now nicely poised going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge – who has ultimately sourced themselves a better team; Chelsea or PSG?
Since being taken over by the mysterious Qatar Sports Investment group circa 2011, Paris Saint-Germain have been operating in Ligue 1 as if they are some sort of fantasy league team. Money simply seems to be no object for the club’s wealthy backers, who other than perhaps Manchester City, are one of the most financially powerful team’s in world football. As Champions League success has so far eluded the stylish French outfit however, getting PSG’s proposed dream-team to work effectively out on the pitch hasn’t always proved an easy task.
In spending over £60 million on the likes of Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, Blanc’s side have certainly tried to sure things up defensively at the back. However, the incredible £50 million signing of David Luiz alone – fresh from Brazil’s 7-1 disaster at the hands of Germany at the World Cup – proves that the money men in Paris seem to be going for dramatic headlines rather than the perfect team. Such a defence may consist of some truly high-profile names, yet its ability to do the business in Europe so far hasn’t proved itself.
In terms of PSG’s other outfield investments across the past few years, the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic seem to have settled in well in Ligue 1, but there are still quite a few other signings that leave a lot to be desired. Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore, signed for £35 mil and £37 mil respectively, have failed to register themselves as first team starters since arriving in Paris – and as for the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edison Cavani – the former Napoli pair have seemingly been forced to accept new positions whilst plying their trade in France.
They may have cost PSG in the region of £80 million between them, but the succession of different managers at the Parc des Princes have seemingly been unable to resist dropping Zlatan in favour of giving Lavezzi and Cavani a proper role up-top, rather than out in isolation on the wing.
Chelsea on the other hand, despite being equally nonchalant in their spending practices, have at least seen a bit more return from their cash. Yes – the poor form and subsequent dismissal of both Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres may have shone the Blues in a particularly shocking financial light, but as their current squad has much more of a team element behind it, Chelsea ultimately look in better shape than their French counterparts.
The combined midfield four of Juan Cuadrado (£23 million), Cesc Fabregas (£30 million), Willain (£30 million) and Eden Hazard (£32 million) certainly indicates that Chelsea are in-fact reliant on extreme financial investment for their success, but in selling the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Andre Schurrle and of course David Luiz to PSG, for equally lofty sums, the Blue’s current books are seemingly in a safer place than they have been in some time.
Chelsea also deserve credit for sourcing players such as Cesar Azpilicueta, who in today’s current climate, would definitely go for a lot more than what he was initially bought for.
Ultimately then, whilst both teams are somewhat guilty of buying their way to success in recent seasons, Chelsea look like they have come out with a seemingly better hand. PSG may have had less time to enjoy the spoils of their new investment, but with all things considered, the Ligue 1 outfit simply lack the chemistry and team ethic that seems so prevalent at Stamford Bridge right now.
For this reason alone, Chelsea should therefore prove the victors in their much awaited Champions League clash with the Parisian giants in the coming weeks, and successfully progress to the next round in place of PSG.