The football world has still not recovered from the shock caused by Messi’s exit from Barcelona. Although nothing is confirmed at the moment, PSG is said to be the frontrunners to sign one of the all-time footballing greats. In a tearful press conference, Messi confirmed that a move to PSG is on the cards. In this article, we will discuss the four possible formations, PSG can play with Messi in their ranks.
4-3-3 is the most obvious formation for PSG, as Messi’s best has often come while being a part of the front three. Messi already formed a devastating trio with Neymar and Suarez from 2014-2017. However, Mbappe has different qualities to Suarez, and he likes beating defenders from the left wing. This could mean a fluid front three where the forwards often exchange positions with each other.
Idrissa Gueye is an ideal defensive midfielder for such a formation, as his defensive qualities can help cover up the forwards’ lack of work rate. Verratti and Wijnaldum are likely to play on either side of Gueye. With the attacking-minded Hakimi as the right-back, Wijnaldum is essential to defend the right-wing. Bernat will be the left-back, while Marquinhos and Kimpembe will be the central defensive pair.
This formation could cause ego clashes in the dressing room as veteran Di Maria will warm the bench. Among the many formations PSG can play with Messi, 4-3-3 is the best option if Pochettino wants to balance defense and attack.
The only formation which allows all of PSG’s world-class forwards to play together is a 4-2-3-1. In such a formation, Di Maria and Neymar will play as wingers, while Messi will be the traditional number 10. Messi and Di Maria regularly play together for Argentina, and hence there is a school of thought that both will be able to extract the best out of one another.
This formation will see Gueye and Verratti in a double pivot. Both are not alien to such a role, but it will be interesting to see how they combine with Messi. Ramos once again cannot be part of the starting 11 as tactically two quicker, more agile centre-backs are required. But without Wijnaldum in the eleven, Hakimi must be careful not to leave a lot of space while darting forward.
#2 4-4-2 (Diamond)
Although 4-4-2 has long been thought to be an outdated formation, it must be noted that France won the World Cup with a midfield diamond. PSG could do the same with Messi on top of the diamond and with Neymar and Mbappe upfront. This formation allows Messi to drift around in midfield looking for passing options.
4-4-2 will also favor a deep-lying playmaker such as Paredes. His long balls, combined with the pace of Mbappe can destroy the opposition’s central defense. Tactically, 4-4-2 will also allow PSG to sit back and defend efficiently in big games.
3-4-3 is the best option among the formations PSG can play with Messi, due to a variety of reasons. PSG signed Ramos because of his UCL experience and in 3-4-3 he can form a defensive partnership with Marquinhos and Kimpembe. This will also allow Hakimi to the role of a wing-back, which he is accustomed to during his time at Inter and Dortmund.
In 3-4-3, Wijnaldum can play an advanced role, which he has done efficiently for the Netherlands. Simply put, 3-4-3 will allow PSG’s best players to play in their most preferred positions.