If the PSG version Canal Plus had marked the 90s with the highlight, the historic victory in the Cup Cup (1996), it took 2011 and the purchase by Qatar for the club to find a European ambition. But since the Bosman Judgment (15/12/95), a rule has been imposed on European football: tell me what your budget is, I will tell you what sporting ambition you can have! And since Michel Platini, then president of UEFA, had decided to set up Financial Fair Play, a path was then imposed on the new owners of Paris Saint-Germain: develop its commercial revenues in order to recruit talents to match their ambition.
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PSG Transfermarkt's transfer balance
From 2011 to 2022, QSI invested €1.1 billion in the club (buyout and net balance of transfers). Over the same period, the capital club's fan communities grew from 3 million to more than 240 million followers across all platforms. Commercially, Paris SG is now the leader in commercial revenues with €399 million in 2022. All these elements have allowed Brand Finance and Forbes magazine to value the club at more than $ 4 billion. The only obstacle to this meteoric increase is a recurring budgetary imbalance.
Because sportingly, if the club has qualified 12 consecutive times for the prestigious Champions League until the final in 2020. To achieve such results, it was necessary to convince players of great talent to leave big clubs to come to Paris, then perceived as a challenger. How to attract Zlatan, Beckham, Neymar, Messi...? By salaries obviously and therefore a very (too) important wage bill. The failure of the MNM (Messi Neymar Mbappe) has highlighted the need to rethink the club's model. Great in Europe economically, the challenge now is to make the sporting project the priority of what is a new era in the life of Paris Saint-Germain.
For so long, being recruited by PSG was the guarantee for any player to have a better salary than any other competitor could have offered, so it was necessary to change posture. Whether wanted or suffered, the departures this summer of Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Neymar, illustrate a turning point in the relationship of the "institution" and the players and / or their agents. Beyond the symbol, parting with these big salaries has given back room for maneuver to rebuild a squad corresponding to a new sports policy. And for once, the new coach seems to have been involved in the management of the squad, both in terms of arrivals and departures. The Verratti case is a perfect demonstration of this. On his own, the Italian international embodies the phase 1 of the PSG version QSI, in its successes, failures and shortcomings. Close to President Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the little owl has offered you a new contract extension until 2026. His departure is the demonstration that there is a new sporting policy, driven by and for the field. The icing on the cake, this PSG phase 2 has learned to sell ... at the right price. Estimated between 40 million euros by Transfermarkt and 48 million euros by Off The Pitch, Marco Verratti was sold for 45 million euros. Valued between 5 and 10 million euros by Football Benchmark, Julian Draxler was transferred for 9 million euros. Even if the real price of a player is the one that a buyer offers and that the seller accepts, this PSG has sold players for 201 million euros, already a third of the sales made in the last 10 years.
Obviously, such a revolution may take some time to produce a lasting effect. Will Luis Enrique be able to retain the title of champion of France, reconquer the France Cup, win the Champions Trophy this year? And since once is not customary, the club of the Capital points that in the 6th place of the favorites of the Champions League, qualifying for the quarters seems an achievable objective and would be a first point of passage ...
Vincent Chaudel is a marketing expert and co-founder of the Observatoire du Sport Business, the Think Tank of IN&Sport whose vocation is to provide analyses and decryptions on the evolution of sport, both in its economic and social dimension. Article written in collaboration with François-Xavier Gérard, member of the Observatoire du Sport Business and expert in organizational management.