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Sell Pastore, bring in... Choupo-Moting?! PSG's crazy transfer window explained

09:30 EAT 01/09/2018
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting Stoke City 2017-18
The Ligue 1 champions have had a bizarre summer, which was encapsulated up by their late swoop for the Stoke attacker

Before the summer window even opened, Neymar was already on his way to Real Madrid. Then it was Mbappe, then it was Neymar again. Months later, the pair are still are still flanking Edinson Cavani at PSG.

Paul Pogba was going to Paris, so was Gareth Bale, Jerome Boateng (that one actually almost happened), Danny Rose, Ivan Rakitic, Christian Eriksen, N'Golo Kante, hell, even Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly had his bags packed for Parc des Princes at one point.

It was the summer transfer window, though, we were always going to have all manner of crazy rumours popping up; people need to sell papers and generate clicks, especially when it comes to such a cash-rich club that spent €222 million on Brazil's golden boy.

One such crazy rumour - at the other end of the spectrum, admittedly - turned out to be true though, as on Friday evening PSG announced the free signing of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from Stoke City . What?!

Upon closer inspection, it's not quite as ridiculous as it sounds given the Cameroon international spent his best season at Mainz under Thomas Tuchel, but it still seems odd that a 40-year-old Gianluigi Buffon was the biggest name brought in by a team that famously spent a combined outlay of €367m on two players.

Alex Sandro and Felipe Luis were the main targets for left-back, Bayern Munich utility flanker Juan Bernat was brought in . Javier Pastore was sold to Roma, Jese returned from his loan at Stoke.

So what happened?

For one thing, FFP happened. Such lavish spending under the new owners over recent seasons was bound to draw attention, and draw attention it did until the case was closed last June... then it was asked to be reopened. 

PSG's ambitions are big and falling foul of Financial Fair Play will bring what momentum they have gained in Europe to a grinding halt.

And so Pastore was sold alongside Goncalo Guedes, Yuri Berchiche, Odsonne Edouard and Jonathan Ikone, while Giovani Lo Celso and Grzegorz Krychowiak were loaned out for €2m and €1m fees respectively. With those outgoings, the Ligue 1 champions begin to look more like astute businessmen than rich kids let loose in a toy store.

But there's more to it than simple book balancing. Celta Vigo midfielder Stanislav Lobotka was in talks with PSG across the summer, but far too many intermediaries were involved and ultimately no official offers were put across. It was a case of too many cooks.

In addition, the net was cast extremely wide, meaning there was little focus on bringing in select targets. The scattergun approach was never going to work for a team with a history of paying over the odds for players – would anyone in their right mind accept market value for a player of decent quality when Qatar Sports Investments come calling?

Pay €37m for Thilo Kehrer and see how other teams react.

As mentioned, Boateng was in talks over a move to Paris but the move failed to materialise reportedly due to a nonchalant approach on the part of sporting director Antero Henrique, the same man who sanctioned the purchase of Kehrer.

And so PSG find themselves in a similar situation to last season: armed with a squad ready to walk their way to another Ligue 1 title with ease. The Champions League, however? Perhaps getting their house in order should be the main focus for this season instead.