Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Gianluigi Donnarumma have all joined Paris Saint-Germain this summer window – a haul that Mauricio Pochettino believes is commensurate with the Ligue 1 giants.
After being hired in January to succeed Thomas Tuchel, the Argentine guided his team to Champions League semi-final elimination at the hands of Manchester City and finished second behind Lille in the domestic league.
Pochettino is ready to bounce back in the 2021-22 season after bringing in a slew of big players. He has surrounded himself with some of Europe’s biggest talents.
“A club as prestigious as Paris Saint-Germain deserves the best players,” Pochettino told the club’s internal media on Monday.
“And when you talk about players like Wijnaldum, Ramos, Hakimi, or Donnarumma, these are all players who have established themselves as quality performers at other clubs and have demonstrated their ability to play for Paris Saint-Germain.”
Donnarumma, whose exploits in the shootout helped Italy win their first European Championship since 1968, will provide defensive solidity — a trait associated with Ramos.
During his tenure at Real Madrid, the former centre-back maintained 206 clear sheets and is the first defender to score 100 goals in one of the top five European leagues since the turn of the century.
Hakimi bolsters PSG’s talent on both ends. Last season, the wing-back provided seven goals and nine assists for Inter, a number only four defenders in Europe’s top five leagues surpassed.
And Pochettino recognized the value of that experience in preparing his squad for their upcoming season.
“What we are looking for in all players who will wear the PSG shirt is personality and a winning mentality,” the former Southampton and Tottenham manager said.
“These players have won trophies at other clubs, but most importantly, they haven’t won anything here yet, and they will do everything possible to change that.”
PSG finished 11th in Ligue 1 in terms of possession recoveries last season, and Pochettino has stressed that this is an area where his club must improve if they are to succeed.
While PSG recovered possession 2,250 times throughout the Ligue 1 season, winners Lille were the most diligent, regaining control 2,460 times. The addition of Wijnaldum, who finished fourth in the league in terms of recoveries last season, may assist their chances.
“The key is how we recover the ball, the commitment and desire that each of the 11 players out on the pitch demonstrates when we are not in possession of the ball,” Pochettino said.
“That we have the aggression and cohesion necessary to leave the opposition with few options. That, I believe, will be the deciding factor.”