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Mbappe's Madrid move, Wijnaldum's exit and how PSG's January transfer window could look

13:00 GMT+4 05/01/2022
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There are unlikely to be any new arrivals at the Parc des Princes this month, with the capital club focused on reducing their enormous squad

Paris Saint-Germain’s summer transfer window was one of the most spectacular in history.

Profiting primarily from the free agency of several world-renowned stars, the Parc des Princes club moved to add Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and, of course, Lionel Messi to their ranks. Achraf Hakimi was signed for an initial €60 million (£52m/$71m) from Inter, while promising left-back Nuno Mendes joined up from Sporting CP.

These additions have given them a squad of Galactico proportions, yet the results have been more spectacular in a marketing capacity than they have on the field.

Of the summer arrivals, only Hakimi has genuinely impressed on a regular basis.

Wijnaldum has struggled to find a role in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, Ramos has spent the vast majority of the campaign battling injury niggles and Messi has, incredibly, just a single Ligue 1 goal to his name.

That PSG have opened up a 13-point lead at the top of the French standings has largely been due to the individual quality of Kylian Mbappe rather than any cohesion within the squad, while in the Champions League the Parisians have been punished for finishing second in their group by being paired with Real Madrid in a spectacular round-of-16 matchup.

So, what kind of transfer activity can we expect at the Parc des Princes during the winter window? GOAL explains all below...

Potential ins

It is clear that PSG have yet to truly hit their stride this season, but it is not an issue that they are presently in a position to sign their way out of.

The financial problems caused by the Covid-19 have not left PSG unaffected, and while they managed to attract big names in the summer, they have stretched their budget for the season and are highly unlikely to be seeking any further additions in January.

The bulk of PSG’s January transfer business will instead be focussed on attempting to reduce a bloated squad.

Potential outs

PSG have already succeeded in offloading Rafinha to Real Sociedad via a loan deal, but as many as seven or eight more players could follow the Brazilian out the door.

Indeed, the club would listen to offers for central midfielders Ander Herrera, one of the club’s best performers early in the season, and Leandro Paredes, who has long been linked with a return to Serie A.

Similarly, in defence, Thilo Kehrer and Abdou Diallo are players who could potentially depart in January.

Versatility is a strength of both players, though, and it is unlikely that PSG would allow both to leave, with the Germany international the man under more threat.

Equally, Layvin Kurzawa is not in Pochettino’s plans and it is a priority to find a taker for the left-back, while third-choice goalkeeper Sergio Rico is another who could be sold.

Loans

The most high-profile exit at the Parc des Princes this January could be that of Wijnaldum.

The Netherlands international has already been linked with a move back to the Premier League after an ineffective start to life in France.

PSG are eager to keep Wijnaldum on their books, though, and if he is to depart, it will most likely be on loan.

Mauro Icardi's situation is slightly different. PSG may well end up letting him leave on loan but they would rather find a buyer for the Argentine.

Icardi has been the chief victim of Messi’s arrival, with Mbappe now occupying the 29-year-old's role through the centre of the attack.

The former Inter captain has contributed only five goals and brings little else to the team, while he has been in the news more for his off-field relationship with wife and agent Wanda Nara than for his contribution in attack.

Juventus are long-term admirers of Icardi and Turin appear to be his likeliest destination. However, the Bianconeri simply do not have the cash for a permanent transfer right now, so it remains to be seen if PSG will accept their loan bid.

Elsewhere, loan deals may also be agreed for youngsters El Chadaille Bitshiabu and Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe.

Contracts

Of course, the big PSG transfer story remains the future of Mbappe, whose contract expires in the summer. Sporting director Leonardo spent much of 2021 fighting to secure the future of the World Cup winner to the club only to fall short of that target.

Now, Mbappe is free to speak to Europe’s biggest clubs and it is widely expected that he will commit his future to Real Madrid.

Privately, PSG accept that they are now second favourites to have the superstar forward on their books next season, with the 23-year-old set to follow his heart to the Bernabeu in what will be one of the greatest free agency moves in history.

It may not be that a deal is announced until the end of the season, though.

Mbappe is not the only player that PSG could lose to a Spanish giant. Xavi Simons could be on his way back to Barcelona after three years in France.

The 18-year-old midfielder has only featured on three occasions for the first team but has built a strong reputation in the academy ranks and is a player the club is aiming to keep.

The other significant contract issue that must be resolved is that of Angel Di Maria.

He has the option of an additional year at Parc des Princes when his current deal expires in the summer. The odds look in favour of it being taken.

So, while the prospect of blockbuster deals over the course of January look slim, there is plenty to be done to keep Leonardo busy.

Clearly, the priority will be seeking a breakthrough in the Mbappe talks, but with the odds on this lengthening with each day, cutting the fat from an excessively large squad is key.