Keep, loan or sell: The players PSG should allow to leave in the 2023 summer transfer window

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While a couple of big names have already headed for the Parc des Princes exit, others could yet follow them in the coming months

In a sense, Paris Saint-Germain got lucky. Lionel Messi is gone, and he left early. The Argentine was bound to generate controversy this summer, and he did his now-former club a real favour by letting them know he would leave well before the end of the season.

It is a decision that allows PSG to move on to more pressing issues. And there are a lot to handle. Kylian Mbappe has one year left on his contract. There will be the annual, and obligatory, match-making fest with Neymar. A host of loanees will return to the club, most of which will need new homes. Put together, PSG have too many players, but very few who are good enough to help them reach their lofty goals of European success.

And to make things even more difficult, the Parisians are currently without a manager after sacking Christophe Galtier earlier this week.

This summer won't be easy, then, and PSG have a number of big decisions to make about who to bring in. But what to do with the pre-existing squad? GOAL takes a look at who PSG should keep, and who they should let go, this transfer window...

  1. KEEP: Kylian Mbappe

    KEEP: Kylian Mbappe

    This is a simple one. Kylian Mbappe has pledged to stay at PSG, making it very clear that he will see out the rest of his contract, which ends in 2024. The future beyond that is uncertain, but there is a good chance he leaves for Real Madrid that summer.

    And that doesn't matter. Mbappe is one of the best players in the world, and will probably lift PSG to the Ligue 1 title alone. Madrid might try a cheeky bid, especially with Karim Benzema gone, but PSG should stand their ground. Mbappe is too good to let go.

  2. SELL: Neymar
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    SELL: Neymar

    Here we are again. Every year, PSG flirt with the idea of selling Neymar. There are rumours, clues on social media, and the occasional concrete link. And then, inevitably, Neymar ends up in PSG training at the start of pre-season, smiling as if nothing ever happened.

    The same scenario will, in all likelihood, play out again this year. Neymar is coming off ankle surgery, and at 31, probably won't fetch the financial return PSG would hope for. A new manager will also probably like a chance at coaching one of the best in the world.

    Still, if the right offer comes in, PSG should jump at it. While he won't command the hundreds of millions PSG spent on him, there should be enough of a fee to reinvest. And for Neymar, a change of scenery might be necessary. Both parties could benefit.

  3. KEEP: Gini Wijnaldum
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    KEEP: Gini Wijnaldum

    Wijnaldum probably deserves one more shot. The midfielder was injury plagued at Roma, but had some good moments as the season wore on. And if PSG undergo the midfield clearout they arguably need, some legs will be necessary for reinforcement.

    He's in a slightly odd juncture in his career, too. Wijnaldum is 32, and his contract ends next year. A loan, at this point, makes little sense. Sticking around and trying to prove himself in front of a new manager might be his best shot at another long-term contract. There's little risk in it for PSG, too.

  4. SELL: Mauro Icardi
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    SELL: Mauro Icardi

    With Icardi, the talent was always there. Who knew that Galatasaray would be the team to unlock it? The Argentine scored 23 goals for the Turkish side this year, finding the sort of form that made him among the most highly-rated strikers in the world just a few years ago.

    And now other clubs have come sniffing. Jose Mourinho's Roma are among the interested parties, while Juventus are also supposedly in the running. PSG won't make a fortune from him; Roma are reportedly offering less than €10 million (£8.6m/$10.7m). Still, it's money, and the Parisians should take what they can get for a player who clearly doesn't have a future at the club.

  5. KEEP: Achraf Hakimi (unless a massive offer comes in)
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    KEEP: Achraf Hakimi (unless a massive offer comes in)

    Real Madrid need a right-back. PSG have a very good one, who, incidentally, used to play for Real Madrid. Hakimi has made little secret of the fact that he would like to play in the Spanish capital again. And Madrid certainly have the money lying around to make this happen.

    The question is, why would PSG sell? Hakimi is among the best in the world in his position, and despite a blip in form towards the end of the season, has shown little sign that he'll decline any time soon. There might be one or two interested parties, but he will almost definitely stick around.

  6. SELL: Keylor Navas

    SELL: Keylor Navas

    It was very strange to see Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks for Nottingham Forest as they secured survival in the Premier League. But Forest took on Navas on loan, and he was reliable for his tenure in England.

    And it's reportedly piqued the interest of a few other English clubs, with at least four Premier League sides interested in securing his services this summer. Navas isn't going to boot Gianluigi Donnarumma from the starting XI anytime soon, and he's too good to languish on the bench. It's probably time for PSG to let him go for good.

  7. KEEP: Fabian Ruiz
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    KEEP: Fabian Ruiz

    For six months, Fabian did little to suggest that he should stay at PSG beyond his first season at the club. But in the final weeks of the campaign, things changed. The Spaniard found form, and started to chip in with a few goals and assists, while finally gelling with Messi and Mbappe.

    He wasn't spellbinding, nor was he necessarily instrumental to the way the Parisians played. Rather, he served as an ideal role player and did enough to earn at least another crack at Parc des Princes.

  8. SELL: Leandro Paredes

    SELL: Leandro Paredes

    Financial and legal issues notwithstanding, Paredes didn't do enough in Juventus for the Old Lady to bring him in permanently. So, he's technically PSG property for at least one more year — unless they can find a buyer.

    And there are supposedly a few suitors. Atletico Madrid are reportedly keen to pair him with national team compatriot Rodrigo de Paul, while Chelsea have also cropped up, but would be admittedly surprise contenders. Still, if someone wants to buy, Paredes should go.

  9. KEEP: Abdou Diallo
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    KEEP: Abdou Diallo

    After struggling with injuries all season, Diallo has had it confirmed that he will not be kept on permanently by loan club RB Leipzig, and that means a return to Paris.

    He could represent a real dilemma for the Parisians, too. If Sergio Ramos were still around and had Presnel Kimpembe not sustained a serious injury, Diallo would likely be out of the door — perhaps for good. But now, he might be an important squad player.

    PSG probably want another big-name signing at centre-back, but Diallo should be kept around to offer cover.

  10. SELL: Julian Draxler
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    SELL: Julian Draxler

    It's hard to believe that Draxler is still a PSG player at this point. He was always going to be rendered irrelevant by the arrival of Messi, but his loan spell at Benfica has done little to revitalise his career. And with Messi now gone, perhaps there's a path to first-team football available.

    But PSG will likely make new signings in that area, and could push Draxler even further down the pecking order. That he is coming off an ankle operation doesn't inspire much confidence, either. A move away for good seems likely. Suitors, though, are few and far between.

  11. LOAN: El-Chadaille Bitshiabu

    LOAN: El-Chadaille Bitshiabu

    Bitshiabu had a mixed season. For a few weeks, the academy product looked every bit the centre-back PSG have needed to come through the system. Good in the air and assured on the ball, the tools were there for a top-class talent. But he faded as the campaign wore on, and was error-prone in the final few fixtures.

    With Milan Skriniar on the way in, and more competition likely to follow, Bitshiabu could do with a loan move — ideally to another French team — to get regular minutes under his belt.

  12. SELL: Layvin Kurzawa
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    SELL: Layvin Kurzawa

    Kurzawa never really found full fitness on loan at Fulham. And when he was available, reliable United States international Antonee Robinson kept him out of the XI. And things got even worse in March, when he suffered a serious knee injury in training.

    Fulham will not bring him in permanently, and PSG won't offer him a new contract, either. He enjoyed a few good years in Paris, but he'll be looking for a new club this summer.

  13. SELL (maybe): Vitinha

    SELL (maybe): Vitinha

    Perhaps the only good thing about Vitinha's first season at PSG was the fact that he rarely missed a game. Otherwise, he was a very poor signing. Galtier seemed to love him, and made the Portuguese a regular, but it's hard to see why. Certainly, he enjoyed some good moments and never stopped running, but he never really brought much quality or creativity to the midfield, and simply looked like an awkward fit.

    PSG likely won't want to get rid of him, but if a good offer somehow comes in, they should listen.

  14. LOAN: Hugo Ekitike
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    LOAN: Hugo Ekitike

    Ekitike arrived on loan with an obligation to buy last summer, and he's enjoyed the occasional good game without stringing top performances together. A natural No.9, he never really looks comfortable playing on the wing, and with PSG's positional fluidity, that's often what happened.

    Perhaps he should've expected all of this; Ekitike was never going to beat any of PSG's big three into the XI. Still, it would have perhaps been nice to see him get a chance more often. And now, even with Messi gone, the youngster is better off going out on loan.

  15. KEEP: Presnel Kimpembe
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    KEEP: Presnel Kimpembe

    Kimpembe is a tricky one. The centre-back ruptured his Achilles in February, and could miss most of the 2023-24 season. In effect, PSG will have to replace him, and there's a chance they might not want to wait around for his return.

    Teams rarely have a look at injured players, but if the PSG captain is effectively irrelevant for a year, it could be an opportune time for someone to swoop in. That assumes, of course, that the club are willing to sell, or that Kimpembe would like a move — both of which are very unlikely. They should hang on to him; Kimpembe could still be world-class.