Some believe football is totally run by money. PSG's newly found income is the perfect example of this.
There is a strong movement currently circulating among the more hardcore football fans called 'Against Modern Football'. While being a sincerely broad slogan, the basic principle of the movement is that modern football is totally run by money and without it you have nothing, unlike in 'better times' when all you needed in football was passion and you'd get a tupence at the end of the week as a reward for your labours. They also believe that not only is the game totally circulated around money, but everyone from the waist upwards is corrupt. The players hardly ever support the club they play for and only play for the billions they earn and the chairmen have no strong emotional link to the club as they used to, but instead are only taking part in what they see as a boring facade because of the possibility of more money at the finish line. The prospect of this money drives investors and chairmen to plough huge and enormous sums of money into clubs to improve the squad, the stadium and the overall look of the club.
Paris Saint Germain is a club which has never quite lived up to the expectation of one of the grandest and most beautiful cities in the world. While other clubs such as Lyon and Marseille have taken the glory in France and Europe, PSG has sat in the shadows. But with modern football comes new investment, namely investment from the East. Just as with Manchester City, a Qatari businessman, named Nasser Al-Khelaifi, with riches beyond anyone's wildest dreams, has taken over the club and he has started to plough money into the club so it reads as one of the most star-studded squads in the history of football.
In the 2011/2012 season PSG's squad was above average but with no notable camaraderie in the squad to replace the lack of serious worldwide talent, which allowed the superb underdogs Montpellier to snatch the title on the last day of the season. But PSG learned from this lesson, and this summer has been one of the busiest in French football for a long while, mainly down to PSG and the Qatari power that funds it. A host of world famous stars that would be first team in just about any squad have been snapped up already, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marco Verratti, Mohamed Sissoko and Thiago Silva (who having been signed for £42million is the most expensive defender in the world). These players have been added into a squad that already included Javier Pastore, Thiago Motta, Mohamed Sissoko, Salvatore Sirigu and Mamadou Sakho. This is no ordinary team and it is expected to blitz Ligue 1 next season, providing the management of Carlo Ancelotti is adequate. But where does this squad stand according to the guidelines of what can be regarded as 'Modern Football'?
Among the more hardcore fans PSG may be regarded as the antichrist. As a club with no real and notable success outside of a few league titles, and nothing to shout about in terms of a youth academy (with the exception of Mamadou Sakho possibly), any future success would be totally down to the money invested in the team. If PSG were to cause a stir in Europe or totally dominate domestic football then the world class players that they have signed will be the cause of that, but they have only been attracted to what used to be regarded as a small club because of the money being offered. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not playing for PSG because it's his boyhood club and he can afford a pay cut to play for the team of his dreams, a team he has a real passion for. No, he is playing for them because he is on £14 million a year and is the second highest earning player in the world, just below Samuel Eto'o. You might also note that the majority of big players signed are either Italian or signed from Serie A. This might be something in favour of the current PSG board, as not only is Serie A one of the best leagues in the world, but it is by far the most corrupt. The players are used to playing under enormous pressure and expectation in Italy with crippling corruption scandals constantly weighing them down. The relative calmness of unlimited money and a happy squad may just be the perfect environment for them to thrive under.
PSG have proved the pessimists who regard modern football, despite the brilliance of players such as Leo Messi and the amazing architecture of stadiums that we have available, as worse than football in the 1960's, say. There are still plenty of players with a raw passion for their club, Ryan Giggs and Xavi for example, but PSG will probably go on to prove that money is everything in a football club. You only get money with money, and Mr Al-Khelaifi will go home an even richer man than he was before.