Pablo Sarabia (24 games), Abdou Diallo (19 games), Ander Herrera (12 games), Sergio Rico (5 games)… What if the success of the PSG transfer window was measured by the performance of its sidelines? With Keylor Navas, recruited for 15 million euros (M €) at Real Madrid and the loan with option to purchase Mauro Icardi by Inter Milan, Leonardo demonstrated for his return to business that he was still capable of 'attract stars.
But the Parisian sports director also set out to consolidate his group by recruiting ... replacements! A delicate casting where rare birds must reconcile an irreproachable state of mind to accept to evolve in the shadow of almost untouchable stars while being efficient when Thomas Tuchel calls upon them.
“In my time already and even without having the means that the club has today, our priority was to change the bench, says Jean-Michel Moutier, the former Parisian sports director of the great Canal + years. We had no choice because we couldn't keep it long. Players want to play and it's only natural. It is a status that creates frustration. Many accept it for a season or two and then get bored. You have to take guys who won't drag your feet all week. This year in Paris, we feel that boys like Herrera or Sarabia say nothing, do the job and put themselves at the service of the team ”.
"We lost young players but we gained this experience"
Thomas Tuchel assumes in any case having made the choice of experience to the detriment of Parisian titis like Christopher Nkunku (Leipzig), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Timothy Weah (Lille) or Stanley Nsoki (Nice). “Pablo Sarabia has played maybe 200 games with Sevilla (Editor's note: 151) , who are still playing to qualify for the Champions League or win the Europa League. That's a big difference, said Thomas Tuchel in October after the Spaniard's first of seven goals. We lost young players but we gained this experience. It is a habit for him to play around fifty games in the season ”.
Characteristics found in Herrera (40 European games with Manchester United and Athletic Bilbao), Diallo (8 Champions League games with Dortmund and Monaco) or Rico (37 European games with Seville, including a Europa League victory ).
States of service which they accept for the moment without flinching to put at the service of the collective, even if it means playing utilities in positions which are not theirs. "They have in common that they are good and simple guys," we slip at the club. They are very professional players who always smile and do not display their moods. We feel them involved ”. The technical staff, who scrutinize the performance data of each player, are for the moment very satisfied with the performance of their bench. In the game as in the attitude. "It is Tuchel's role to best manage his group to create harmony, but it is also easier when the results are there," concludes Moutier. If it didn't win, those players would certainly bring it back more. ”