Julian Weigl has been linked with a transfer to PSG, but would it be a good move for his career?
Rumours circulated this summer about Julian Weigl’s future. Paris Saint-Germain seemed the most likely destination, but Weigl recently denied he was interested in a move. Whether his stance changes in the future remains to be seen, but for now it’s worth considering whether a switch to the Ligue 1 side would benefit the German’s career.
Thomas Tuchel was appointed as manager of PSG in the summer with the aim of being successful in Europe as well as creating a dynamic, exciting team out of the individuals at his disposal. PSG have some of the best attacking players in the world, but they lacked cohesion under Unai Emery and were pulled apart by Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.
Tuchel previously managed Borussia Dortmund from 2015 to 2017. His reign ended poorly as he fell out with the board, but he had success there, finishing second in the league in his first season, and winning the DFB-Pokal and reaching the Champions League quarterfinals in his second.
Weigl flourished under Tuchel because he was converted into a deep-lying playmaker from his previous role as a holding midfielder. His tactical flexibility allowed him to play in a variety of different systems, sometimes during the same game, as Tuchel constantly strived to achieved maximum attacking output from his team without sacrificing defensive solidity. Since then, Weigl has played under three different managers, but has struggled to reach the same level of performance.
His place has been under threat since Lucien Favre brought in Axel Witsel to sit at the base of midfield. Favre prefers a 4-3-3 formation, and Mohamed Dahoud and Thomas Delaney have been favored for the other two midfield roles.
Favre’s priority has been to build a solid defensive platform from which to work as Dortmund aim to eventually mount an assault on Bayern Munich’s domestic dominance. Set pieces and counter-attacks have been their main source of goals so far, a change that doesn’t suit Weigl.
Weigl was recovering from an injury over the summer, which explains why he didn’t start the games and didn’t even make the bench against Leipzig. However, the signing of Witsel suggests Favre saw the defensive midfield position as an area that needed strengthening. Even if he does see Weigl playing further forward, Dahoud will provide hefty competition for a place.
In contrast, PSG are desperate for someone who can dictate play from deep positions and take control of games. Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot are both excellent midfielders, but they would benefit from playing in the advanced midfield roles and having someone who is reliable in providing service to them. Weigl fits the bill perfectly and he would be a long-term solution because he’s only 23 years old. It also benefits him because he would have a guaranteed first-team spot for all the big games.
The risk attached to joining PSG is the poor reputation of Ligue 1. Therefore, success in the Champions League is key in avoiding this becoming a backward step for his career. Nonetheless, it does provide Weigl with the chance to win a lot of domestic silverware while playing alongside top players. PSG also have a much more realistic chance of going far in the Champions League than Dortmund do.
Overall, it seems PSG would be a good move for his career because Tuchel can unleash his potential and bring him to the level everyone knows he is capable of. It’s early days for Favre at Dortmund, so he may elect to give Weigl a starting spot. However, he’s unlikely to get Witsel’s spot which means he’d be playing in a less favorable position. It’s a tough decision, but he would benefit from a move to France.