PSG's 10 best transfers of all time

Robin Bairner
A decade of QSI at PSG: The huge net spend that bought Neymar, Mbappe but no Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain have been one of the major players in the transfer market over the last 10 years, making record-breaking signings and landing huge deals that many believed were not possible.

PSG have used their financial clout to become a global superpower, reaching the 2019 Champions League final and following it up a year on with a run to the semis, defeating Barcelona and Bayern Munich en route.

But even before their relatively recent explosion, they had been conducting some notable business in the transfer market.

Here are 10 of their best signings in the twentieth century...

Thiago Silva – €42m (from Milan, 2012)

The summer of 2012 saw PSG make two pivotal signings from Milan. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was one while Thiago Silva was the other.

Aged 27, the Brazilian was at the peak of his powers and was arguably the greatest centre-back in the world for periods at Parc des Princes. Perhaps his only failing was his inability to produce his best in the biggest games.

Thiago Silva became a PSG legend, featuring on over 300 occasions for the club, with his final game their Champions League final loss against Bayern Munich in 2020.

Now with Chelsea, he is belatedly being given the recognition his quality deserves.

Angel Di Maria – €63m (from Man Utd, 2015)

How would Angel Di Maria fit in at Juventus?

An expensive flop at Manchester United, PSG swooped to take advantage of Di Maria’s unhappiness in the Premier League but snapping him up little more than 12 months after he had played a vital role in helping Real Madrid win the Champions League.

Where Man Utd failed to get production from Di Maria, PSG succeeded, with the Argentine becoming one of their most consistently effective players over the course of his stay at the club.

Now 33, Di Maria recently signed a one-year contract extension and will seek to add to the 264 matches he has played, yielding 88 goals and 110 assists.

Neymar – €222m (from Barcelona, 2017)

The transfer that shook the world. No-one though a deal of such a magnitude was possible when Neymar moved to PSG for €222m as the Ligue 1 side matched the minimum fee release clause on the Brazilian’s Barcelona contract.

PSG even flexed their financial muscles by agreeing to pay the full amount immediately.

Neymar’s raw numbers with PSG are formidable – 87 goals and 52 assists in just 116 appearances – though an unhappy knack of being injured at key times of the season have prevented the Brazilian from completing his ambition of winning the Champions League with the Parc des Princes side.

Edinson Cavani – €65m (from Napoli, 2013)

When PSG signed Edinson Cavani, he was regarded as one of the deadliest strikers in Europe and arrived as a response to Monaco’s capture of Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid.

Cavani’s goal scoring potential was rarely fully exploited in Paris. Often, he was shunted to the role of right winger as Ibrahimovic instead took centre stage. While Cavani admitted this was not ideal, his attitude was exemplary throughout and his scoring was good in the circumstances.

Scored 49 times in 50 games in the season after Ibra departed but was then quickly overshadowed by Neymar and Mbappe.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – €20m (from Milan, 2012)

It’s incredible to think that PSG paid just €20m for one of the best players in the world back in 2012. Zlatan was still only 30 at the time and, as he showed in the decade following this move, he does not age like mere mortals.

In four years at PSG, the Swede was a colossus. He scored an incredible 156 goals in 180 games to lead the Parisians to four straight Ligue 1 titles and 12 trophies in total.

He was Ligue 1 Player of the Year and the league’s top scorer in three of those four seasons.

Marco Verratti - €12m (from Pescara, 2012)

The truth behind Verratti’s failed Barcelona transfer

Unlike Zlatan and Thiago Silva, Verratti was virtually unknown in global circles when he made the move from Italy to France in 2012.

He was plucked from Serie B champions Pescara, with PSG nipping in to beat Juventus to his signature after the Bianconeri haggled over the price.

It has proved to be one of the best pieces of business PSG have ever made as Verratti has been one of the elite central midfielders of his generation during almost a decade in Paris.

As good as anyone at controlling possession and dictating the play in midfield, Verratti has made 346 appearances for PSG and won a record seven Ligue 1 championships. Were it not for injuries, his reputation would be even higher.

Kylian Mbappe – €145m (from Monaco, 2018)

Mbappe initially arrived at PSG in 2017 on loan from Monaco, although the deal was structured in such a way that it was effectively a transfer. Indeed, PSG needed only to avoid relegation for it to be made permanent and Mbappe to become the most expensive teenager ever.

At PSG, Mbappe has grown from prodigious youngster to worldwide superstar, although his stay at PSG is uncertain due to a contract that expires in 2022.

His four years in Paris have only continued to suggest he will take up the mantle from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the game’s next global star.

Marquinhos - €30m (from Roma, 2013)

What if Marquinhos had left PSG for Barcelona in 2016?

When PSG moved to sign Marquinhos from Roma in 2013, it initially seemed like something of a gamble. The young Brazilian defender had only been in Europe for a single season, after all.

However, the money has proved to be exceptionally well spent. Marquinhos has matured as PSG would have wished, developing into a leader of the defence and a captain of the team. He has even been versatile enough to be used in midfield, too.

There are few players better in his position and to buy a player of his level would cost many times the fee that PSG paid the Serie A club.

Pauleta - €11m (from Bordeaux, 2003)

Pauleta may have arrived at PSG well before the QSI era and the age of mammoth signings, but the Portuguese striker is one of the best-loved players in the club’s history.

Much of this is owed to his prowess in front of goal. In total, he scored 109 times for the club, which remains one of the best marks in the Parc des Princes side’s history.

He turned down interest from the likes of Lyon – at that time by far the strongest side in France – and was a key member of the team that won the 2006 Coupe de France.

Even now he receives a warm welcome when he returns to the capital.

Ronaldinho - €5m (from Gremio, 2001)

While it’s tempting to believe that world-class players did not turn out for PSG before QSI took them over in 2011, Ronaldinho is one example of a man in the last 20 years who belies that.

The Brazilian may be most noted for his golden spell at Barcelona, which led the Catalans ultimately to Champions League success in 2006, but it was in Paris where his career exploded.

Signed for just €5m, he was ultimately sold for €32m just a couple of years later – an incredible piece of business for a player who, at his peak, was the very best in the world.