Ibrahimovic signing lays down a marker for PSG
Published: 01.08.12 / Written by: David Gold
Finally, Paris St Germain have made the signing they have been so desperate for.
Recruiting Zlatan Ibrahimovic from AC Milan was the coup they had been after, having failed in attempts to lure David Beckham and Carlos Tevez.
In Ibrahimovic, they have a player in the prime of his career, signed from one of Europe's giants. What better way for Qatari Sports Investments to say "we are here." If that was not a big enough statement in itself, it followed on from the signing, also from Milan, of Thiago Silva, in many people's eyes the best centre back on the continent, as well as the prodigiously talented Ezequiel Lavezzi.
This influx of stars should make Paris St Germain odds on favourites to lift the French title this season, even if it did not quite work out that way last time around, pipped as they were by a team, Monptellier, who spent less during the season than the Parisians have on Silva and Ibra.
It seems unlikely that history could repeat itself this year, though most would say it would be nice if it did. But Carlo Ancelotti now has some dilemmas to ponder. Ibrahimovic will surely lead the line, but who plays behind him? Ancelotti has Lavezzi, Javier Pastore, Nene and Jeremy Menez. Many would play with three of the four, but for much of last season Ancelotti went with three defensively minded midfielders, and so two may miss out.
It may be wise to reconsider that. Towards the end of last season, it was a front three of Menez, Pastore and Nene, without a centre forward, and they worked well together. Imagine how they would do with the physically powerful and technically skilled Ibrahimovic using his frame to create space for them to wreak havoc in.
But with a player like Ibrahimovic comes the temptation to play the ball directly to him, or launch it down the channels. Ancelotti may have to guard against this and instruct his players to play it on the ground more, as that is when their other creative stars will be at their best.
Further back, Silva's signing should shore up a defence which was leaky last season, and it is certainly true that the Parisians have the tools necessary to challenge. They embark on their first Champions League campaign in a generation too.
But the signing of Ibrahimovic has sent a wave of optimism and sent out a huge signal of intent. It is that Paris St Germain want to be a big club, and one of the best in Europe. It is a statement that they are looking to raise their profile and enhance their reputation with the glow of one of the continent's best players. French football may be excited for the impact it could have on the league, and that is another intriguing counter point. Qatari Sports Investments are owned by the same person who owns the company with Ligue 1's television rights. Surely they stand to benefit from the growing profile of the league as a result of these signings?
They undoubtedly will, and that is the impact of PSG's raised profile. And that is what the Ibrahimovic signing in turn, is really all about.