After signing Neymar for a world-record fee of €222 million from Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain have scored another major transfer window coup by completing a €180m deal to sign Kylian Mbappe from Monaco - initially on loan with an obligation to buy.
If there were any doubts about it before, there can be none now: PSG have the game’s best forward line.
By the time the Parisian club pay the compulsory purchase fee for the 18-year-old, they will have shelled out €465m on their front three of Neymar, Mbappe and Edinson Cavani. This ‘NME’ trio have not come cheap, averaging over €150m a head, yet the club can expect a lavish outlay to yield lavish rewards.
Neymar’s switch to the French capital brought an end to Barcelona’s famed ‘MSN’, which also included Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, but it has proven the genesis of an attacking line that could be its equal.
Certainly, there can be little doubt that Mbappe would have so readily left Monaco had it not been for the influence such a superstar’s mere presence has had on the capital team.
There is, understandably, great excitement in the French capital over the arsenal of forwards they have amassed as they seek to win the Champions League for the first time.
Midfielder Adrien Rabiot, one of PSG’s standout performers early in the season, could not disguise his excitement when asked by Le Parisien whether his team had the best offense in the game.
“That could be the case even before the arrival of Kylian. Now, it’s sure – PSG will have one of the best attacks in the world,” he said.
There are few who would argue with the 22-year-old.
Neymar has already settled into life in France with remarkable ease, although the presence of numerous Brazilians in PSG’s ranks has no doubt aided his assimilation.
He has thrived in being the team’s go-to player, the man everyone seeks to give the ball to each time possession is won. Already he has three goals and as many assists to his credit in only three Ligue 1 matches, and while greater challenges surely lie ahead, there is already ample evidence to suggest he can thrive equally in the Champions League.
With Lionel Messi misfiring, it was Neymar who carried Barca that famous evening they defeated PSG 6-1 in March, inspiring his side to perhaps the greatest comeback of all time that reduced him to tears come the night’s end.
Moreover, he is also the only man aside from Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in the last 10 editions of the Champions League to finish a campaign as top scorer, albeit jointly with the aforementioned duo in 2014-15.
There is little doubting that he is currently one of the game’s top three performers.
Mbappe, meanwhile, has not yet reached those heights, although the worldwide expectation is that it is only a matter of time before he does. Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon, for example, dubbed him a "future Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi".
The former Monaco man has established himself as the game’s leading young forward thanks to a series of blistering displays last season at Stade Louis II. No challenge appeared too great for the Paris-born striker, who scored six times in six Champions League knockout matches as Leonardo Jardim’s side reached the semi-finals.
While critics generally argued that he should have stayed another year in the principality to develop, only the brave would back against him dovetailing effectively with Neymar and Cavani.
The Uruguayan will be the only surviving member of last season’s attack. Freed by the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the summer of 2016, he has thrived on the responsibility of playing through the centre and finally reached his best level for PSG after three years in France.
He netted 49 goals in 50 outings, including eight in eight in the Champions League, proving few can match his instincts for getting into scoring positions.
PSG will, therefore, have three players with incredible scoring instincts across the front line, though in Neymar and Mbappe they have two figures just as content laying on goals for others.
The Brazilian’s 27 assists in his final season for Barcelona actually outstripped the number of goals he scored (20), while an often-overlooked aspect of Mbappe’s breakthrough campaign was that he laid on 14 goals for others. Both understand the value of effective partnerships, and while Cavani is much more of a pure finisher, his team ethic cannot be underestimated.
Making PSG even more formidable is their strength in depth. It seems inconceivable that they will retain Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Lucas Moura past the transfer deadline, yet equally they won't offload all three. Consequently, their options off the bench, or for rotation, will be formidable, allowing head coach Unai Emery to keep his forward three in prime condition for the biggest matches.
The aim is clear: obliterate the domestic competition and focus on Europe. With such an incredible front trio at their disposal, anything short of a glittering campaign would be a huge failure.