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PSG summer transfers: Neymar & Messi depart as French talents Kolo Muani & Dembele take centre stage

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain planned to do a dissection and long overdue restructuring of their squad.

There needed to be a change in philosophy – a move from the previous principles of buying big names.

Sporting director Luis Campos was to reshape the squad, with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi watching on.

After years of chasing superstar signings, they decided to bring more French internationals into the fold.

Their summer truly started towards the end of last season as they let go of Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos.

It looked like they would renew Messi’s contract, especially after a triumphant 2022 World Cup, but they allowed him to join Inter Miami.

Sergio Ramos overcame a difficult first season but could not earn a contract extension and left the Parc des Princes. The former Real Madrid defender remains a free agent.

PSG signed French international Lucas Hernandez from Bayern Munich and sealed an early deal for Slovakian centre-back Milan Skriniar.

Their defence was plagued by injuries towards the end of last season, and they brought in reinforcement quickly.

However, many people raised eyebrows when they saw Les Parisiens were targeting Hernandez, who has had his many battles with injuries.

The fans complained about the Hernandez transfer, but not because of his injury record. They have reservations about his ties to Marseille.

PSG needed a holding midfielder and beat Chelsea to the signature of Uruguayan international Manuel Ugarte. They signed him from Sporting CP, and he has already started showing his prowess for PSG.

The Ligue 1 giants did most of their restructuring in the attack. They signed free agent Marco Asensio and South Korean playmaker Lee Kang-in.

Neymar subsequently decided he wanted to leave PSG, and the club did not bat an eyelid. They tried to push him out last season, but he did not want to go.

PSG gladly accepted a €90 million offer from Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal for Neymar.

They moved decisively and snapped up another French international, Ousmane Dembele. The fleet-footed attacker returned to Ligue 1 after his time with Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona.

As with every summer, there was the usual Kylian Mbappe drama. News broke that the Les Bleus captain did not plan to extend his contract until 2025 but wanted to walk for free next summer.

Mbappe holds the key to his extension. He can extend the contract until 2025, but he decided against doing so, and PSG wanted to sell him.

They banished him from the squad, sending him to join their transfer-listed players training separately from the first team. There was interest from the Saudi Pro League, but it was unrequited.

Perennial Mbappe chasers Real Madrid didn’t come forward for him. PSG have since allowed him back into the first team after they struggled for goals in their opening game of the season.

They are also trying to talk to him about renewing his contract with a release clause that allows them to recoup a fee on his transfer. Hopefully, this saga will end soon.

PSG also signed exciting young winger Bradley Barcola, beating Chelsea to his signature. They snapped up the French youth international from Lyon for around €45 million plus add-ons.

They also brought in Portuguese gunman Goncalo Ramos from Benfica on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy for €80 million.

While all this was happening, PSG were involved in one of the fiercest transfer battles this summer as they fought to sign Eintracht Frankfurt forward Randal Kolo Muani.

Frankfurt wanted Ekitike in return, but the Frenchman wanted a move to the Premier League, where he had interest from Crystal Palace and West Ham United.

When Ekitike refused the move to the Bundesliga, it looked like the Kolo Muani deal would collapse, but PSG managed to close it.

They signed their man for €75 million plus another €15m in add-ons, not so far away from the €100m Frankfurt had been demanding all summer.

PSG now have the French national team forward line of Mbappe, Kolo Muani and Dembele and hope that this trio will lead them for years to come.

They also re-signed attacking midfielder Xavi Simons after a stellar 2022/23 season and inexplicably loaned him out to RB Leipzig, where he is continuing his terrific showings.

PSG also signed Cher Ndou and Arnau Tenas on free transfers

They sold Abdou Diallo, El Chadaille Bitshiabu, El Chadaille Bitshiabu, Mauro Icardi, Junior Dina Ebimbe, Djeidi Gassama, Leandro Paredes and loaned Renato Sanches.

Juan Bernat, Ismael Gharbi, Colin Dagba, Lucas Lavallee and Noha Lemina also went out on loans.

They are also trying to sell stalwart Marco Verratti but have not received an offer from interested Saudi and Qatari suitors that matches their valuation.

PSG’s squad restructuring represents a significant departure from their past philosophy of chasing big-name signings.

The club has made strategic moves to bolster various areas of their team, with a notable emphasis on French talent.

With manager Luis Enrique at the helm, the stage is set for PSG to produce exciting results in the seasons to come.

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