Zlatan in motion: Free-spending PSG finally lands Ibrahimovic

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This is really happening, and you know it’s not getting any cheaper for Paris Saint-Germain. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is actually going to be playing in Ligue 1 next year. France! It’s not Russia or China, but still: Incredible …

Which is what the club might be saying about his salary. Zlatan was making $11 million with Milan and was rumored to want near $20 million (tax free) to make the move. He had no reason to come off that demand, considering the resources at PSG’s disposal. Even if they met half way, Zlatan’s now just short of Samuel Eto’o territory. But, that’s what it was going to take. At least PSG bit the bullet.

And they say Jay-Z and Beyonce are the new Bonnie and Clyde? Nah. Now it’s Zlatan and Lindsey Horan making it rain throughout the streets of Paris. Ibrahimovic will funnel Euros through the exhaust of a new Lamborghini, while Horan … well, she’ll probably put some money away for school. Either way: Baller.

The most baller thing of all: PSG’s Qatari ownership has been shameless about vacuuming up Europe’s talent. UEFA is their Tiffany’s, and they’re ready for breakfast, pointing to what ever shines brightest in the display. If the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid ever put their wares in the window, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) will create a new bank, fill it with electronic money (that’s how the world works now), and execute Operation Messi Ronaldo.

Not that they haven’t already made their mark:

  • Last season they announced their presence in buying Palermo’s Javier Pastore for just under $53 million.
  • That came during a summer in which they also acquired Kevin Gameiro (Lorient, $13.5 million), Jeremy Menez (Roma, $11 million), Blaise Matuidi (Saint-Etienne, $9 million), Salvatore Siguru (Palermo, $4.3 million), and Diego Lugano (Fenerbahce, $3.5 million), all of whom have played at the senior level for their countries.
  • In the winter window, they snagged Thiago Motta (Inter Milan, $12 million), Mohamed Sissoko (Juventus, $10 million), Alex (Chelsea, $6 million) and Maxwell (Barcelona, $5 million).
  • And this summer, they’ve grabbed Thiago Silva (Milan, $51.6 million), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, $37 million), Ibrahimovic (Milan, $28 million) and Italian prospect Marco Verratti (Pescara, $14.7 million).

In all, QIA has spent $264 million in transfer fees since they started buying last summer, and those are just the purchase prices. The wages these players will earn over the lifetime of their deals should exceed the one-time fees.

Many will see PSG’s spending as a symptom of a broken system. Yeah, I guess, but it’s going to be nice to have some talent spread beyond the traditional big three leagues. It’s not like PSG has barged into a commune and trampled on a shared resource. Silva and Ibrahimovic are coming from Milan, a European titan. Lavezzi and Pastore came from smaller clubs, but if they didn’t move to a French giant, they would have gone to an Italian, Spanish or English one.

These players would have eventually moved to a big boy. Now, there are more players in the game. While some will see the soccer world worse for the Manchester Citys and Paris Saint-Germains, ask yourself: Would you rather have the same giants accumulating all the world’s talent? Or, would you rather have those giants joined by one or two new players?

Because really, those are the only two options.