Mauro Icardi, the last candidate for the loft game


With Rafinha’s departure made official this Saturday evening, the loft set up by PSG now only has Mauro Icardi out of the eight elements that made it up, proof that this technique has had the merit of working for its main objective. downsizing of the workforce.

If the star Academy will soon be back on TF1another program from the 2000s of the channel was brought back to the fore thanks to PSG, at least as a joke on social networks: loft story. As far as the Parisian club is concerned, remember only the first term,  » loft », aiming to characterize the fact that part of the elements of the locker room was isolated from the rest of the workforce. Behind the humorous trait of the term and the resulting jokes over the summer, the implementation of such a system was above all the materialization of a crucial mission for the PSG this summer: finally manage to slim down its workforce.

This mission was anything but easy. For years, the Parisian club had been unable to part with its players, placed in more than comfortable conditions at the PSG and to Paris, both sportingly and economically, not to mention the dream living environment offered by the French capital. Difficult, in such a context, to convince players whose performances did not meet expectations – in the best of cases – to pack up and go where they will earn less and where they will have to take up a lesser sporting challenge.

The soft way does not work with successive transfer windows, the hard way was favored in this summer of 2022. The framework was completely legal. The players were not deprived of training, they simply worked on the sidelines of the group of Christophe Galtier. When the men trained by the French technician showed up in the morning, the others arrived in the middle of the afternoon to practice with a group of young people who did not fit into the staff’s plans, including Edward Michuteventually went to Sunderlandor Djeidi Gassama, who will extend to PSG before joining Eupen loan.

A group of eight quickly identified

Ander Herrera, Georginio Wijnaldum, Layvin Kurzawa, Julian Draxler, Rafina, Thilo Kehrer, Idrissa Gueye and Mauro Icardi. They were the group of eight. Eight players pushed out. Eight players whose departures were clearly not guaranteed at the start of the summer despite the will of the PSG. Eight players who have gradually integrated this group of banished according to the arrivals.

As a well-known expression goes, “ in the end, only one will remain « . The theory has been verified: on Sunday September 4, there is only one left, namely Mauro Icardi. Ironically, we can say that he is the big winner of this loft game. The Argentinian is the final boss. Such a part of mario brosthe first seven worlds have been conquered, there is only the eighth castle left to conquer embodied by this player who has been annoying since January 2020.

Announced in the viewfinders of Galatasaray and Besiktas, the Argentinian striker has until September 8 and the closing of the transfer window in Turkey to join one of these two teams, failing which his situation during this first part of the season promises not to be easy. In particular, he could be granted playing time with the team of National 3 managed by the PSG association, but there is no question of reinstatement in the group of Christophe Galtier. Will Mauro Icardi eventually give in to the pressure, he who has no intention of making the slightest concession on his salary? The answer will be known within the next four days, barring a surprise exit door in MLS or in Argentina.

The other six candidates, they let go gradually throughout the summer, more or less easily. Georginio Wijnaldum, for example, was touched by his sidelining for the tour in Japan. He thus made no waves when he joined theAS Roma as part of a loan with an option of €8 million which may become compulsory under certain conditions. Thilo Kehrer also did not hang on when West Ham took an interest in him, a club he joined as part of a transfer costing €16 million. Officially left this Saturday evening on the side ofAl Arabi to QatarRafinha was also looking for a base to revive after six months on loan from the side of the Real Sociedad in the second half of the 2021/2022 season. The hardest thing wasn’t to convince him to look elsewhere, but rather to find him a way out. The Brazilian arrived freely two years ago and leaves the same way, thus depriving the FC Barcelona 35% of the amount of a possible transfer.

Other elements of the group of eight were nevertheless more difficult to get out. Ander Herrera has long clung to his Parisian comfort without his situation seeming to affect him more than that. The departure of Layvin Kurzawa was not an easy task, both because of his claims and the difficulty of finding a suitor willing to recruit a player who had not played in official competition for over a year. The situation was similar for Julian Draxler, very comfortable Paris despite his adrift sporting situation at the PSGwhile Idrissa Gueye did not want to make things easier to make a big comeback to Everton that he wishes to see materialize within the framework of a free transfer one year from the end of his contract.

Craftsman of departures, Antero Henrique got stuck in these four levels of the loft game. Fortunately, perseverance pays off and the solutions have been found. Ander Herrera found the Basque Country and theAthletic Club by leaving as part of a loan which will have two possible ends at the end of the season: a purchase or a new season loaned despite a current contract until 2024. layvin Kurzawa and Julian Draxler have for their part been lent without a purchase option to Fulham and Benfica. According Abdallah Boulmathe English club supports the majority of the Frenchman’s salary, while the German sees 80% of his salary being paid by the PSG despite his departure. As for Idrissa Gueyehis transfer took place for just €2 million.

Despite many loans, the original mission is accomplished

This is how the loft was almost emptied and the PSG now finds himself with the only Mauro Icardi as the ultimate occupant. Some may regret the lack of transfer and the fact that the majority of departures have been settled through loans. Certainly, Paris will continue to cover part of the salaries. Julian Draxler and Layvin Kurzawa will return at the end of the season, while there is a possibility that Georginio Wijnaldum is also making its comeback in June 2023. But do we really have to complain about it?

The ideal would obviously have been to record only sales. Only then, obviously, that was not possible. Some items were outright unsellable. The real issue for the PSG was to offer Christophe Galtier the possibility of having a reduced group, something he called for when he was presented as coach on July 5: “ I will make sure the players are happy on the pitch and in the locker room. I therefore think that the workforce should be reduced. We cannot have players who do not play. We will make sure to reduce and find the right size of staff « .

It’s almost a total success on this point. The ball is now in the court of Mauro Icardi. If he agrees to leave within the next four days, the impossible mission will have been well and truly accomplished by the PSG. And if we go back three months, the game was far from over.

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