Richard Buxton: PSG yet to bridge divide with Europe’s elite
French side have failed to establish themselves like Bayern despite heavy investment
Throwing money at problems could have finally reached a dead end for Paris Saint-Germain.
For the best part of a decade, they used their limitless resources to keep dining out at European football's top table with seemingly little care for the inevitable consequences.
But there are issues which cannot be remedied by Qatari ownership simply picking up the tab ahead of a rematch with Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
|BAYERN MUNICH||PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN|
Tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) meeting of last season's finalists at the Allianz Arena highlights the disparity between the established order and the nouveau riche.
Hansi Flick's side remain the model of continuity with a seven-point lead over RB Leipzig that sees confirmation of a ninth successive Bundesliga title now appearing a formality.
"FC Hollywood" are everything their visitors can only dream of becoming; all-conquering and heavily revered while also boasting a healthy sprinkling of stardust in their ranks.
PSG, meanwhile, are freewheeling for solutions after attempts to revive their season saw the coach who led them to their first Champions League final hastily replaced during the Christmas period.
Thomas Tuchel was sacked for the crime of four defeats in their opening 17 domestic matches despite sitting a point off Ligue 1's summit. That gap has tripled thanks to Mauricio Pochettino recording the same number of losses in just three games fewer.
Chelsea's manager is having the last laugh about the bruising end to his tenure in the French capital with his new charges possibly easing into the semi-finals of Europe's elite club competition, thanks to their largely favourable last-eight draw against Porto.
His replacement, however, faces the unenviable task of quelling unrest within his well- heeled squad as several talismans hold fire on their long-term futures at the club.
Both Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have hit pause on negotiations over fresh extensions as the clock ticks down to their respective contracts expiring at the end of next season.
A chance to play alongside two of the finest talents in world football has been PSG's unique selling point to prospective new arrivals. Losing either, especially on free transfers, would be the final nail in Qatar Sports Investment's deteriorating blueprint.
Their vision of a hybrid squad containing star-studded talents and homegrown graduates has long been obliterated with many of the latter that emerged from PSG's catchment area choosing to pursue career options away from their native Paris suburbs.
No fewer than 22 players with roots in the area featured in the Champions League's Round of 16, where half were eliminated. Just three still play for the French champions.
Kingsley Coman's winning goal in last year's showpiece denied his boyhood club the one trophy they have craved and could return to haunt them again as Bayern look to fill the void left by Robert Lewandowski's absence from both legs of this tie through a knee injury.
A match-up without the relentless Poland international promises to make for a more even contest, but Pochettino's side still have to contend with the Bavarians' impressive track record of scoring in 62 consecutive matches in all competitions.
PSG are not playing for progress in the competition they remain desperate to win alone.
Staving off potential suitors for Mbappe and Neymar has made it far more imperative.
If they suffer at the reigning holders' hands again, the vultures will start circling rapidly.