Marquinhos: The third musketeer arrives

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

Evidently not satisfied with their two impressive captures earlier this week, Paris Saint-Germain rounded off an impressive four-day blitz on the European transfer market by announcing a third arrival in the form of Roma defender Marquinhos. The Brazilian sensation joins on a five-year deal from the Italian giants and once again pushes PSG's summer spending spree over the 100 million euro mark.

- Marquinhos seals PSG switch

"The transfer of Marquinhos, a future star, whose qualities have already attracted the attention of Europe's biggest clubs, is a source of great satisfaction for Paris Saint-Germain," crowed President Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

"It underlines the club's desire to look towards the future in order to construct one of Europe's biggest clubs."

Indeed it does and the signing of the 19-year-old is believed to be smart business by those familiar with him from his debut season in Serie A with the side from the Italian capital.

Having only just turned 19 in May and replete with braces fitted for a teenager, Marcos Aoas Correa (his full name) arrives in Paris for the princely sum of 32 million euros all told. Incredibly overpriced for a player yet to reach 20 years of age, perhaps, or it is a sum that reflects the confidence that the French champions have in the Brazilian youth international to fulfill his immense potential.

The versatile defender, who plays at centre-back as well as right back, is touted as one of world football's brightest prospects and, as Al-Khelaifi said, was reportedly attracting interest from European giants such as Barcelona and Manchester United.

"I am delighted to be joining Paris Saint-Germain, a club where so many Brazilians have played and helped write the club's history," Marquinhos told PSG's official website after a lengthy wait for the positive results of a thorough medical examination.

"I will do everything I can to continue that tradition and write my own name into the club's illustrious history books.

"Paris Saint-Germain will help me continue my progression alongside exceptional players, with the desire to win trophies and also win the hearts of the supporters."

The arrival of Marquinhos demonstrates the tremendous vision of the side from the French capital, as do the arrivals of Edinson Cavani and Lucas Digne. Having waited to enter the transfer market while they found a suitable replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, allowing Monaco to raise the stakes ahead of the coming campaign, PSG have issued the perfect riposte this week.

Recent reports in France suggest that the three-time domestic champions are following a blueprint left by departed Sporting Director Leonardo in this current transfer window. Even so, not only are the three excellent signings a swipe at those suggesting that the club was about to enter a downward spiral after the losses of Ancelotti and the Brazilian, but they are an ominous statement of intent from the club whose owner threatened to "activate Lionel Messi's release clause" should Barcelona do the same for PSG captain Thiago Silva.

On the pitch though, Laurent Blanc's side already boast last season's meanest defence in the top-flight, having shipped only 23 goals. Whereas Digne comes in at roughly the same age, not even a full year older, the former Lille man has Champions League experience. Marquinhos does not. In fact, he has not even played Europa League football yet, despite the rave reviews of his debut season in Calcio.

Initially, PSG were thought to be targeting the 19-year-old as a replacement for compatriot Silva, who has been linked with Spanish giants Barcelona in what has now been described as "a war" between the two European powers. It now appears otherwise. The Selecao captain has committed his future to the Championnat behemoth and looks set to stay for the coming season at least. So instead of risking losing out on the heir apparent to Silva's throne before they need him, PSG acted early.

Should Silva leave at any point in the next two years, Blanc's side already have his replacement. However, the real question is whether he will partner with the 28-year-old immediately or have to wait for his chance in the first team despite his hefty price tag. As promising as his talent is, he is still a flash in the pan for now.

In Silva, Mamadou Sakho and now Marquinhos, PSG have three top quality central defenders and Alex, Zoumana Camara and Diego Lugano are not bad as back-ups either. But should 'Le President' choose to play the young Brazilian prodigy ahead of the French international Sakho, the 47-year-old risks alienating one of the club’s best home grown talents and Marquinhos' potential future defensive partner.

The arrivals of Cavani and the Samba star are highly ambitious, so too is the signing of Digne, but all of them, bar the recent under-20 World Cup winner, will likely be pushing a domestic talent further out of the first team picture in the coming season.

Should Digne usurp Maxwell over the course of the campaign, PSG will gain another rare French player into the line-up. Cavani, though, almost certainly signals the end of Kevin Gameiro's time at the Parc des Princes and Marquinhos puts Sakho and compatriot Alex's first team claims under considerable duress.

With midfielder Clement Chantome looking highly likely to leave this summer as well, the French champions risk losing their two most senior youth academy graduates and strongest club symbols. The signing of Digne is proof that PSG's owners are beginning to wake up to the value of some of France's top domestic talent, but there seems little other faith in the abundance of gems currently in Ligue 1.

Masses of money can buy you the best talent in world football, but that money won't buy you character. PSG now must be careful to not shed what little is left of their identity by dispensing with fans' favourites and putting their new starlet under too much pressure at this early stage.


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