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Who Had the Best 2012 Sumer Transfer Season?

The transfer window officially closed this past Friday so it is now time to observe which European clubs were best improved.  This is an inexact science and only time will surely tell who which clubs have benefited the most, but the following three clubs look to have emerged on this side of summer in the best shape.

1.  PSG – Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the most famous of the French club’s incoming transfers and is sure to bring world-class ability to the attack at PSG.  Having played at Inter Milan, Barcelona, and AC Milan, as well as amassing 80 appearances internationally for Sweden, Ibrahimovic is as good as they come and should help take PSG to the next level.  Also arriving at the club were experienced Brazilian center back Thiago Silva and the exciting Argentinean talent Ezequiel Lavezzi.   Further, they signed a young 19 year-old named Marco Verratti, a creative midfielder who has been compared to Andrea Pirlo.  Expect PSG to dominate France’s Ligue 1 and make some noise in the UEFA Champions League.

2. Manchester City – Although it was a rather quiet summer until just a few days ago, Manchester City showed again why having infinite funds is so much fun for assembling a squad.  They decided to buy up a great deal of young English talent with Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell.  Sinclair, a winger, has been an integral part of the recent success for Swansea City.  Rodwell came through the ranks at Everton as a defensive midfielder and has recently been called up to the England national side.  They also bought Spanish midfielder Javi Garcia from Benfica and young Serbian defender, Matija Nastasic.  Finally, they purchased right back Maicon from Inter Milan, a veteran right back.  Although most of these signings will be seen as projects, the club is already an incredible squad and they have displayed a strong desire to build for the future.  Last year’s Premier League champions were also to hold onto all their stars so they have merely improved.

3.  Manchester United – They basically upgraded two positions that they were already strong in with buying two superstars.  They offloaded struggling Dimitar Berbatov and brought in the EPL’s best striker Robin van Persie.  The Dutchman had a world class hat trick this weekend and probably could have scored 6 if he had converted a penalty and scored a few of the other numerous opportunities that he just missed.  Also, the club bought Shinji Kagawa, a wonderful Japanese midfielder who has been impressive in Germany for Borussia Dortmund.  The great thing for this team is that they didn’t sell anyone of note.  Yes, their midfield is aging and they should have bought some more youth there, but Giggs and Scholes are still quality and their strikers are the best in the world now between Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Many teams bought and sold players this summer, and although many teams will feel that they improved, those teams were also guilty of selling their best players.  Chelsea, for example is thrilled with new signings Eden Hazard and Oscar, but legendary striker Didier Drogba left the club.   Players like these will be missed and their former clubs will have to make do without them.  Therefore, since Man United, Man City, and PSG retained their best players and merely upgraded by purchasing great talent, I felt that they had the most successful 2012 summer transfer season.


PSG Poised to Dominate French Football

Ligue 1 of France has typically been viewed as a soft competition in the eyes of professional soccer players.  Often disregarded in the wake of Europe’s top leagues like Spain, Italy, England, and Germany, France usually serves as a stepping-stone for young stars to rise to prominence and earn big money moves abroad.  But all this is set to change.  With the squad assembled at Paris Saint-Germain, France will harbor at least one major threat in the UEFA Champions League.

Since the Qatari Investment Authority purchased the club roughly one calendar year ago, they have invested over 200 million Euros into the team through transfer purchases.  Preying mostly on the Italian Serie A, PSG now is home to stars like Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi of Argentina and Thiago Motta and Thiago Silva of Brazil.  Additionally they have collected rising French playmakers like Jeremy Menez.

Their biggest name transfer occurred earlier this month with the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  The large Swede is a world-class striker and scored the best goal of EURO 2012.

Furthermore, PSG’s main rivals have sold their best players and become even worse!  French champions Montpellier just sold their main striker Olivier Giroud, and 3rd placed Lille parted ways with Eden Hazard, who left for Chelsea (PSG finished 2nd last season).  Lyon has been only a shell of its former self since Karim Benzema left, so the nation looks set to be governed (in football and stately matters) by Paris.

In PSG’s recent friendly against Chelsea, the team looked very impressive.  Although the match ended a 1-1 draw, and of course understanding the fact that this was merely a preseason friendly, the Parisian side largely dominated the proceedings, especially in the first half.

The offensive players looked vibrant and were full of trickery as they completely threw the Chelsea defense for a loop.  They used nifty back heels and played lovely balls over the top of the defenders’ heads and often confused Chelsea.  They were rewarded with a goal after a brilliant run by Pastore, whose shot deflected off the post and fell for Nene to direct home.

Manager Carlos Ancelotti would have liked to have beaten his former club, and they may very well have done that had Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva made an appearance.  This team looks smart and quick and will certainly be one of the Champions League contenders.  Ligue 1 surely is in the bag and will merely serve as practice matches for the major European tournament.  PSG has become a force to be reckoned with and should compete well against major clubs like Barcelona, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich.  Vive La France!