Monday, February 24, 2020

How Does Pablo Sarabia Fit At Paris Saint-Germain?

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, Ligue 1 2 Jul 2019

Embed from Getty Images

Reigning Ligue 1 champions PSG have made their second signing of the summer, although this can qualify as their first “purchase”. After acquiring Ander Herrera on a free transfer, now Les Parisiens have signed Pablo Sarabia, from Sevilla, on a five-year contract. The talented attacking midfielder will be part of the Ligue 1 giants until the end of the 2023-24 campaign.

However, Sarabia might not have the same ascendancy he had while at Sevilla. During the 2018-19 season he was the focal point of Los Nervionenses’ attacking line, but we shouldn’t expect him to have such a role at PSG. In fact, he might even struggle for playing time if everyone is fit.

Let’s analyse how Sarabia might fit.

Natural role: Attacking midfielder

Sarabia thrives when playing behind the lone striker. The lone problem here is that PSG do not tend to use such a player. Les Parisiens have been changing systems often since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival, but they rarely use a true n.° 10 that can play behind the striker. That doesn’t leave any space for Sarabia thriving in his best position, and he would have to find an alternative on his secondary role.

One alternative would be to play Sarabia as a creative central midfielder. However, he lacks the defensive work rate to be an asset in that position. Especially considering PSG already have more than enough options to play at CM such as Leandro Paredes, Marco Verratti, Christopher Nkunku and potentially other new signings over the course of the summer.

Secondary positions: Left / right winger

Sarabia will find playing time, though. He will likely be one of the top bench alternatives for Tuchel, although he would have to compete on that role with the likes of Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler. And that’s if PSG do not add more attacking players into the mix.

Even if he wants to start, the starters would be Neymar on the left and Kylian Mbappe on the right wing. The departure of Edinson Cavani would push Mbappe to a more central role, and that might send Sarabia to start on the right… but only if Tuchel chooses him over Di Maria. That’s pure speculation, though.

So why did PSG sign him in the first place?

Sarabia’s arrival only has one potential meaning. PSG want depth on the attacking end, and the Spaniard fits perfectly on that role. The fact that he can play on a number of roles in the final third should give Tuchel some much-needed flexibility on the attacking end. Plus, there are several rumours linking players such as Neymar and Cavani away from PSG this summer. In the worst scenario, Sarabia will add some quality depth for a contending side.

He’s not a game-changing player, but is a more-than-adequate substitute for a Champions League contender. The Spaniard will be a solid addition to PSG, especially considering they sign him for only €20 million.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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