Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donnarumma have all joined Paris Saint-Germain this transfer window – a haul of signings Mauricio Pochettino feels are befitting of the Ligue 1 giants.
Having been appointed in January to replace Thomas Tuchel, the Argentine led his side to semi-final elimination in the Champions League at the hands of Manchester City and they finished second to Lille domestically.
After bringing in numerous big names, Pochettino is preparing to bounce back in the 2021-22 season and has surrounded himself with some stars of European football.
“A club like Paris Saint-Germain deserves players of the highest level”, Pochettino told the club’s in-house media on Monday.
“And when you talk about players like Wijnaldum, Ramos, Hakimi or Donnarumma, these are all players who have shown their quality at other clubs and who have proven that they have the quality to play for Paris Saint-Germain.”
Donnarumma, whose shoot-out heroics led Italy to their first European Championship triumph since 1968, will provide additional defensive solidarity – a characteristic synonymous with Ramos.
The former Real Madrid centre-back kept 206 clean sheets during his time with Los Blancos, while he is the only defender to score 100 goals in one of the top-five European leagues since the turn of the century.
Hakimi offers further quality at both ends for PSG. The wing-back contributed seven goals and nine assists last season for Inter, a total bettered by four defenders across Europe’s top-five leagues.
And Pochettino appreciated the impact that experience could have on his team preparing for their next campaign.
“What we are looking for in all players that we want to see in the Paris Saint-Germain shirt is personality and a winning mentality,” the former Southampton and Tottenham boss said.
“These players that we have signed have won things at different clubs, but most importantly, they haven’t won anything here yet and they will do everything they can in order to do so.”
Last season, PSG ranked 11th in Ligue 1 in terms of the number of times they recovered possession and Pochettino insisted this is an area that his team must improve if they are to succeed.
While PSG recorded 2,250 recoveries across the Ligue 1 campaign, champions Lille were the hardest working, recovering possession 2,460 times. The signing of Wijnaldum, who ranked fourth in terms of recoveries for Liverpool last season, may help their cause.
“The key lies in the way we recover the ball, the commitment and desire that each of the 11 players that are out on the pitch show when we don’t have the ball”, Pochettino added.
“That we have that aggression and collective effort in order to leave the opposition with very few options. I think that will be the key.”