Are PSG holding the keys to this summer's transfer window?

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

Carlo AncelottiGettyImagesCarlo Ancelotti has made no secret of his desire to join Real Madrid

With the French transfer window now open, activity outside of a few big deals across Europe and most notably in the Principality of Monaco has been rather muted. It seems that many clubs on the continent are waiting for something big to happen to kick the transfer window into life. That key event may well be the protracted move of Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti to Real Madrid.

In the offing since the capital club sealed their first title in 19 years last month, the Italian's future has become as saga for both sides involved in the potential deal, as well as the man himself. Neither club can move forward with their plans for the coming season until a decision is made, but PSG are pushing for the best deal possible before grudgingly letting their man leave.

- Digne flattered by Paris Saint-Germain link

By doing so though, they are keeping themselves muted, which is part of the reason that this current transfer window has been so quiet, even though it has only just officially opened. Since the arrival of Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, the French champions have been major players in recent transfer windows, particularly during the summer. But now, with so much riding on the future of the two-time Champions League winning coach, it is the calm before what could turn out to be an almighty storm.

With Monaco already applying early pressure on PSG and their Ligue 1 rivals, the side from the capital are expected to launch a strong riposte in the direction of the Cote d'Azur to silence Les Monegasques. That reaction, according to reports, will be a successful bid for Manchester United's English star Wayne Rooney, plus moves for a number of other top talents such as Lille's Lucas Digne. The problem is that the club can't move for any players until they are sure of the future of Ancelotti, or have a replacement lined up to come in to fill the role.

The latest name linked with the post is that of Guus Hiddink, currently coach of Russian financial behemoth Anzhi Makhachkala, but with a contract set to expire shortly, and he joins the likes of Roberto Mancini, Laurent Blanc and the club's sporting director Leonardo on the list of potential candidates. All have one or more considerable drawbacks though and with Leonardo the best-placed of all of those listed, this indecision over what move to take next could last until the appeal hearing over his nine-month ban for barging into referee Alexandre Castro.

With that appeal not expected to be heard until later this month, the current uncertainty could last for a couple more weeks and eat into both sides' preparation time ahead of the new season. The current situation has led to growing calls to see legendary French footballer and now Real Madrid director of football Zinedine Zidane appointed as coach in the Spanish capital and the longer it continues the louder the calls will grow. Whether PSG are right or not to keep Ancelotti against his will is debatable, but the longer the club can hold out in the face of Real's interest, the closer it pushes Zidane to the hotseat and the further away the Italian is.

Because of this, there are plenty of links surrounding PSG but very little in the way of concrete interest. Under Ancelotti the capital side have a strong squad and one with little need for major improvement if kept intact, but the interest from Madrid in the tactician has opened the door for PSG to open prospective negotiations for Cristiano Ronaldo. The thought of losing the club's talismanic Portuguese has evidently scared Real supremo Florentino Perez and could in itself scupper their plans to snare Ancelotti.

The insecurity, though, is preventing the flow out of the club as well as in. A number of disgruntled players, who feel upset that they have been overlooked under Ancelotti, rightly in some cases, have declared a desire to leave PSG. But until the Italian's future is guaranteed, they are stuck waiting to hear if there is a chance that they can stay in the French capital. So all parties at present are at a complete standstill until either the stalemate is broken between PSG and Real, or one of the two clubs opts to make a move outside of Ancelotti.

The biggest problem with all of this is that PSG are becoming something of a laughing stock, continually being rejected by most of the available coaching pool as they search for an interim replacement for Ancelotti.

The three-time Ligue 1 winners have made it very clear that they favour Arsene Wenger in the long run, so the position on offer to replace the Italian is only that of a temporary nature. By taking this approach PSG are risking next season, when competition is at its highest with the emergence of Monaco, and they are also risking breaking up the current squad all for the sake of possibly being able to lure Wenger to Paris. They must have some solid indication that he is willing to do this at the end of his contract next season for them to take the hunt this far, but now the situation has reached a point where it is doing more damage than good to the club's reputation.

Until a resolution is found, expect little to change in either the French or Spanish capital, and the transfer window may well remain relatively quiet. But with an announcement on the future of Anzhi Makhachkala coach Hiddink expected to be made on Tuesday, as speculation continues to suggest that he has joined the growing list of coaches to reject an interim PSG post, the situation could become a little clearer. Until then though, everyone concerned remains in limbo and while the players are on holiday, the clubs are busy trying to push on with preparations for next season without making much progress.

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