Unlike the Premier League, the European summer transfer window was open until Monday, September 2nd. This allowed French giants Paris Saint-Germain to have their last laugh with a deadline day stunner.
After an ironically somber transfer window which saw them invest in hard-working stars rather than overpriced big names, everything was undone when Mauro Icardi arrived in Paris. Being unable to find suitors in Real Madrid or Juventus, the Argentine had no option but to join the cash-rich French giants.
Now on the face of it, an attacking line consisting of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Icardi looks sumptuous. Four of the top frontline players together should surely excite PSG fans, right?
Well, not really.
You see, Icardi brings controversy wherever he goes. There’s a reason he was exiled by Inter Milan and Antonio Conte didn’t even consider him. PSG might learn his self-destructive ability the hard way.
A look at Icardi’s heinous past
Mauro Icardi is not only a “bad boy” in the European soccer scene, but he’s earned his reputation for all the wrong reasons. There’s no doubting his ability as a top-quality striker. He scored 111 goals in just under 200 league appearances for Inter in his six seasons.
However, his reputation behind the scenes has plagued his popularity among the faithful. While a spectacular player, he’s a rotten person inside. It all started with his relationship with Argentinean media personality Wanda Nara, who was the wife of his former teammate Maxi Lopez. The same person, incidentally, was Icardi’s “idol” growing up. The three became close when Lopez took him under his wing at Inter.
However, what started as a mentorship soon turned very personal. Wanda and Icardi started cheating behind Lopez’s back, which he soon discovered. She divorced the Argentinean striker and soon married Icardi. What made things worse is that Mauro had Lopez’s kid’s names tattooed on his shoulders. He then barred Lopez from meeting his children following Nara getting custody in the divorce.
This all really happened!
This horrible backstabbing tale has made the 26-year-old Argentine a hated figure in his home country, a reason for which he’s rarely selected for the national team despite being such a clinical striker. He’s had rows with many personalities, including Diego Maradona, for his dirtiness. Inter fans wanted him sold in 2016 after he bashed them in his autobiography.
PSG’s usual suspects
It’s not like PSG are lacking divisive characters in their dressing room. Neymar remains their poster boy after flirting with a return to Spain all summer long. At one point it even looked certain. Now he’s gone to court suing his former club for €26 million ($28 million) in due bonuses.
The Brazilian’s a unique specimen when playing. Ligue 1’s almost too easy. But constant injuries, flirting with a move away has ticked off the fans. Moreover, his ego is off the charts, often causing dressing room disputes.
As if Neymar isn’t enough, Edinson Cavani’s another self-appointed locker room leader always getting caught in problems. Who can forget when he denied Neymar a penalty and took it himself to increase his goal-scoring charts. The “senior-most” figure in the Parisian front-line, the Uruguyan’s arrogance is another plague.
Kylian Mbappe’s still a kid, but even he’s hungry for the spotlight when on the field. This often causes malfunctions in their attacking style, leading to upsets in big games against less talented squads.
If these three stars don’t have enough problems, Marco Veratti’s party-holic lifestyle makes him another polarizing character.
What could go wrong?
Well, quite a lot. PSG are juggling with too many balls and things could come crashing down very badly. Icardi’s the latest chemical to stir into the pot hoping to get a Champions League-winning combination. Instead, this could explode in their faces and create a huge PR nightmare.
The reason Icardi wasn’t picked up by anybody was that he’s known to be a dressing room destroyer. He’s capable of completely downing team morale with his off-the-field antics. He was stripped off Inter’s captaincy after confronting former teammate Marcelo Brozovic about an alleged affair with his wife. The guy is non-stop drama.
There’s already a good chunk of ego holding PSG back. If the Neymar-Cavani-Mbappe characters weren’t big enough, now an even more feisty one is joining in. Of course, this explosive attacking line could have bombastic results. PSG’s world-class trio provided 66 league goals last season and after watching Icardi’s impressive numbers, that should grow.
Even Champions League quality sides will have trouble containing that dangerous attack. But as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool proved, humility and togetherness is key towards going all the way. The way in which Salah-Mane-Firmino kept their personalities aside to operate as a fierce combination was inspirational.
However, for a similar thing to be reflected at PSG, Thomas Tuchel will need to perform a miracle. If anything goes wrong, he’ll be made the scapegoat. However, in their bid to remain a relevant “European giant,” PSG might’ve just shot themselves in the foot by bringing Icardi in.
If he shows his true colours soon, one controversial scuffle after another could doom their season. Their locker room is a ticking time bomb ready for implosion and once it does, it’ll burn the reputation they’ve earned in recent years.