Paris Saint-Germain get their Ligue 1 campaign underway against FC Lorient at the weekend and although it feels as if things have not really changed at Parc des Princes, there have been significant alterations made by the French champions this summer. For a start, Luis Enrique is the new head coach and although preseason has not been ideal for the Spaniard with Kylian Mbappe still in a standoff over his future, he has a much better squad available to him than Christopher Galtier did.
This PSG roster suddenly has depth, variety and real quality in areas that have long been neglected in terms of squad building. The defense has had Milan Skriniar and Lucas Hernandez added in the middle while the midfield has been boosted by Manuel Ugarte. The frontline has undergone serious work too with Goncalo Ramos, Marco Asensio and Lee Kang In joining and Ousmane Dembele expected to follow shortly.
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With or without Mbappe, Neymar or Marco Verratti, there is suddenly a lot less predictability about this Parisien side than in previous years. Although it might take Luis Enrique a while to bed down all of that new talent and get them looking the way that he wants them to, there is some serious collective potential to tap into. That said, should Mbappe, Neymar and Verratti still be available to the former Barcelona tactician in September, then that adds an extra layer of star quality.
The French superstar's future is obviously the main talking point with the longtime Real Madrid target still wanted by the Spanish giants but now facing a difficult final year in Paris should he still be a PSG player once the window closes. Mbappe has spent preseason away from most of his senior teammates as the Ligue 1 giants have placed him in the "loft" with other undesirable figures but that does not seem to have softened his stance yet.
The capital club's ability to do so will be taken away once the window shuts so there is a likely reintegration on the cards should Mbappe remain a PSG player into September. However, it is difficult to predict how all the different parties would react to such an eventuality. Another possible scenario is that Neymar and Verratti leaving makes Mbappe the undoubted figurehead of the team and also creates the possibility of a contract extension should Real not come to the table.
PSG's season has the potential to become very serious very quickly given that there are a number of tough games in a short space of time early on with the Champions League quickly added to the mix as well. Last campaign they started and finished in top spot which could be harder this time around depending upon domestic competition but focus will only be on the field once there is a resolution to Mbappe's situation and that is harder to put a timeline on.
If Mbappe stays, PSG can dream of UCL success under former winner Luis Enrique thanks to their new-look side. However, if the France captain goes then they will be less fancied despite a strengthened squad. Ligue 1 and Coupe de France success is a must but serious progress in Europe after a series of round of 16 exits would go a long way towards repairing PSG's reputation after last year's implosion after a promising start.
League finish: 1st
Player of the season: Nuno Mendes
Top scorer: Kylian Mbappe, 30 goals