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    Thursday, 3 August 2017

    Four ways Paris Saint-Germain can build an attack around Neymar

    Four ways Paris Saint-Germain can build an attack around Neymar
    History is in the making. Neymar’s €222 million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain will smash the world record transfer fee, and by some margin.
    In 2016, Manchester United made Paul Pogba the most expensive player of all-time by signing him from Juventus for €105 million, or £89 million. A year later and that sum will be more than doubled by the triggering of a release clause that was meant to be untouchable.
    The Brazilian’s defection to Ligue 1 will go down as a landmark transfer to be mentioned in the same breath as Zinedine Zidane’s switch to Real Madrid from Juventus in 2001, or the controversial crossing of lines that saw Luis Figo leave Barcelona for their bitter rivals from the Spanish capital.
    It will be a deal that marks a line in the sand and football may never be quite the same again. Following on from a spectacular campaign that saw Monaco overtake PSG and seize the French title ahead of a thrilling Nice side, Ligue 1 stands ready to retake its place among Europe’s other elite divisions, and give them a run for their money with regards to entertainment value, if not competitiveness.
    By signing Neymar, after having already snapped up right-back Dani Alves from Juventus, the Parisians have reacted like a wounded animal this summer, throwing their weight around to try and ensure they not only have the players to reassert themselves next season but lock down the domestic front for years to come. He would be everything that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was and more.
    The question is how Unai Emery will carve out space for the Brazilian within his already talent-packed squad. Below are four ways Paris Saint-Germain could line-up with Neymar.

    Continuity for Neymar: 4-3-3

    Edinson Cavani isn’t Luis Suarez and Lucas Moura cannot hold a candle to Lionel Messi but if Emery wants to try and recreate the sort of environment that saw Neymar thrive on the left at Barcelona, he could deploy the Brazilian in the same position, while moving Angel Di Maria back into midfield.
    It’s a role in which the Argentinian played some of the best football of his career for Real Madrid to win the Champions League under Carlo Ancelotti in 2014.
    Backed up by the tenacious energy and ball-carrying class of Marco Verratti, and his very own deep-lying safety net in Thiago Motta, the former Manchester United playmaker would still be given the freedom to play his way while also granting Neymar a starring role out wide.

    Becoming the main man: 4-2-3-1

    SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - MARCH 28: Neymar of Brazil celebrates a scored goal against Paraguay during a match between Brazil and Paraguay as part of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier at Arena Corinthians on March 28, 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
    Money will not be the only motivation behind Neymar’s readiness to swap Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian has his eyes set on winning the Ballon d’Or one day and it has been suggested that he is no longer prepared to play out wide as a wing-man to Messi – to all extents and purposes his rival for the top individual honours in the game.
    If he is heading to France in order to take centre-stage, a role on the left side of Unai Emery’s attack will not suffice. The Brazilian will want headline billing, and why not. He has been his country’s talisman at international level since he was teenager. Regardless of how over-heated the transfer market becomes it is unlikely that he will be losing his place in the record books as the most expensive player in the history of the game any time soon.
    Last season, Hatem Ben Arfa was deployed behind Cavani with Di Maria and Moura flanking the two-footed Frenchman, whose skill on the ball and unpredictability was supposed to make him a threat that could run defences to shreds going either way from within the hole.
    It goes without saying that Neymar would be an upgrade on the former Nice and Newcastle United winger, and a role just off the striker would not only give the Brazilian the profile he will demand in the team but also put him at the heart of the attack where can do the most danger across the front line.

    Star on the counter: 4-4-1-1

    during their International Champions Cup 2017 match at Hard Rock Stadium on July 29, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
    Winning the Champions League will be another item on Neymar’s to do list in France and as Emery found out last year when his side were destroyed by the Brazilian at the Camp Nou as the Parisians let their 4-0 first leg lead slip with a 6-1 thrashing by Barcelona in the Round of 16.
    Their new, record-breaking capture scored twice and set up another assist in that route of the former Ligue 1 champions but they were also culpable for the way they set out to play the second half of the tie. Ultimately, PSG got their tactics wrong and paid a heavy price.
    Emery showed he can excel at hurting European teams by hitting them on the counter as head coach of Sevilla, and while his current club prefer to try and dominate their foes at home and abroad, sometimes it is smarter to be humble and play on the break instead of naively trying to keep possession, no matter the situation.
    Neymar is a terrifying player for defenders to deal with on the break. He is fast, agile, incredibly skillful and tricky and is canny enough to win fouls even if he is stopped from running at the goalkeeper one-on-one or getting behind a team to score or set up a goal.
    Backed up by the hard-working wing play of Julian Draxler and Moura, Neymar could be a serious threat to sides that want to rush PSG next season, in Ligue 1 and the Champions League. He is an explosive world class attacker who can pick opponents off while the rest of his team sit deep to soak up the pressure.

    Play the Monaco way: 4-2-2-2

    Monaco's French forward Kylian Mbappe (L) and Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Thiago Silva head the ball during the French Trophy of Champions (Trophee des Champions) football match between Monaco (ASM) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on July 29, 2017, at the Grand Stade in Tangiers. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
    A return of four league titles in five years is an impressive haul for Paris Saint-Germain, regardless of the misgivings their critics have over the source of their wealth and dominance over the French game, yet last season the Qatari-backed super-club-in-waiting missed out to a resurgent Monaco team full of goals and exciting young players.
    However, Leonardo Jardim has already lost three of his key players from the side that became champions of France in 2017 with Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva sold to Manchester City and Tiemoue Bakayoko leaving for Chelsea. Kylian Mbappe could still leave this summer if a mega bid comes in from Real Madrid or City – although the figure listed to take Neymar to Paris will dwarf the sums that the teenager’s suitors are prepared to pay for him.
    If Emery fancies trying to replicate his rivals and their recipe for success, the Brazilian will have a role to play. With Di Maria or Javier Pastore in Silva’s slot as a wide playmaker that can cut inside, and Draxler deployed in place of Thomas Lemar as a more orthodox winger, PSG’s new forward could play off the shoulder of Cavani – the Parisians’ own stand-in for Radamel Falcao.
    They even have the full-backs to pull it off and provide the width from deep. Dani Alves and Layvin Kurzawa can get up and down the flanks as well as Djibril Sidibe and Mendy did last year as they sent their club to the Ligue 1 title and final four of the Champions League.
    Paris Saint-Germain have never reached the semi-finals of the competition since the Qatari takeover in 2011. Neymar will be tasked with raising their level beyond what they have achieved so far to not only take the next step but win the title outright to reign as the champions of all of Europe, regardless of what formation his side are tasked with playing or the identity of the manager in the dugout.

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