PSG draw again

As was the case last season, big things are expected of Carlo Ancelotti’s big-spending side, but for the third game running they were forced to settle for just a point.

Their fans made sure it was known they were not happy, though, sending their players back to the dressing rooms with the catcalls ringing in their ears as Bordeaux remained unbeaten and moved on to seven points.

With an embarrassment of riches at their disposal it is easy to see why PSG are so fancied and, one of the kingpins, summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, had the first chance when he took on a 25th-minute lob that scraped wide.

Nene and Javier Pastore then combined with the former feeding the latter who drew a save out of Cedric Carasso.

But Bordeaux were not in Paris just to roll over and, with two wins from two behind them, had the confidence to take the game to their opponents, with Henri Saivet’s effort being blocked by Salvatore Sirigu.

Nene did his best once more to break the deadlock before the break, drawing another stop out of Carasso, but it was Bordeaux who started the second half the better with Saivet’s crisp volley being blocked by Alex.

It was anyone’s game and sensing the moment was theirs PSG went on the attack, with Jeremy Menez testing Carasso and Ibrahimovic shaving the woodwork with a shot on the turn.

There would be no grand finale for PSG, though, and it was Bordeaux who finished the stronger, with Alex again the obstacle as he got in the way of Cheick Diabate’s late strike.

Ancelotti eyes French title

The Italian is overseeing the transformation of the club under mega-rich Qatari owners who would like to establish the club as the best team in Europe.

His side missed out on the Ligue 1 title by three points last season to Montpellier despite being top when he took over during the winter break.

And despite spending heavily on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura this summer, the Italian has put being crowned kings of Europe on the back burner, insisting domestic success is the number one target.

“We cannot afford not to win the Ligue 1 title which is our priority,” he told La Gazzetta dello sport. “But no one knows what we will do in the Champions League.

“We want to go forward as much as possible, but much will depend on the draw. In two or three years we could make it into the last four teams. When you are in the semi-finals anything can happen.”

The size of the task is not lost on Ancelotti, who won a league and cup double with Chelsea in his first season in charge.

He was sacked, though, at the end of the next season despite finishing second in the Premier League – blamed chiefly on his failure in Europe’s elite competition.

Perfect machine

Ancelotti, though, knows what it takes to win the competition as he was a two-time Champions League winner during his decade-long spell at Milan and is backing Barcelona to win the competition this season despite having a new manager in Tito Vilanova following Pep Guardiola’s resignation.

“Barcelona is a perfect machine,” he added. “They remain the team to beat, even with the uncertainty over Vilanova.

“For Chelsea this will be a year of transition as it is very hard to win the cup again. They have signed interesting players like Eden Hazard, but they have lost Didier Drogba.

“Real Madrid will be stronger with Luka Modric. He was too expensive for us.

“Manchester United look much better with Robin van Persie and I am waiting for the bang on the transfer market by Manchester city who tried to sign Thiago Silva.”

Ligue 1 round-up

Lorient were 1-0 winners at PSG in the opening round of games last year and they were gifted the perfect start this time around as Maxwell put through his own goal in the second minute from a Kevin Monnet-Paquet cross.

The Brittany club scored a second in first-half injury time as Jeremie Aliadiere eluded a series of PSG tackles before slotting past Nicolas Douchez.

Sweden striker Ibrahimovic pulled one back with a close-range finish in the 63rd minute and tucked away a penalty with two minutes left after Gregory Bourillon was red carded after tripping Blaise Matuidi.

It was a shaky start for Carlo Ancelotti’s men after a summer of major transfer activity which saw Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva drafted in from AC Milan and Ezequiel Lavezzi brought in from Napoli.

Lyon opened their Ligue 1 campaign with a win after battling past a Rennes side who played more than half of the game with 10 men.

Yoann Gourcuff grabbed the winner for the visitors after 15 minutes and Rennes put themselves at a distinct disadvantage when Jires Kembo-Ekoko was sent off in the 30th minute.

Ludovik Obraniak, Yoan Gouffran and Henri Saivet found the target for Bordeaux in their 3-2 victory over Evian, who had Daniel Wass and Saber Khelifa on the scoresheet for them.

There was another five-goal thriller as Toifilou Maoulida struck twice and Anthony Modeste also scored in Bastia’s 3-2 win away to Sochaux. Sloan Privat and Thierry Doubai netted for the hosts.

A last-minute goal from Benoit Pedretti sealed a 2-1 victory for Lille against St Etienne after Aurelien Chedjou’s opener had been cancelled out by Romain Hamouma, while Yohan Mollo scored the decisive goal as Nancy beat Brest 1-0.

Eduardo netted the winner for ten-man Ajaccio against Nice, while a Rincon own goal saw Troyes open their campaign with a 1-0 defeat at home to Valenciennes.

Porto remain firm over Hulk

A host of clubs have been linked with the Porto captain, with Chelsea, Real Madrid, Paris St Germain and most recently Zenit St Petersburg all said to be interested.

But da Costa remains defiant and is calm about Hulk’s future at the club, insisting he will only sanction his exit if a club is willing to pay his release clause, which stands at a massive €100million.

“I didn’t meet Hulk’s agent. Hulk is a player with a buyout fee and if any club want him, they just need to pay that, they don’t need to come here,” said da Costa.

“Hulk will only leave if it interests both Porto and the player. But so far nothing happened to make me think we’ll reach that point.

“Therefore, I expect that for this season Hulk will remain a Porto player.”

Question mark

Hulk’s agent Teodoro Fonseca told Radio Renascenca that you can never rule out a move.

“Hulk has a contract, he likes FC Porto, but at the moment everything has a question mark,” he said.

“We sometimes want a player to stay, but the conditions aren’t the best. Sometimes clubs have to give up a right, a player, or a person to keep their structure. People come and go, but the clubs stay.

“Everything is possible in the world of football.”

Moura sold on PSG project

The 19-year-old Sao Paulo star looked set to join the Red Devils earlier this week only for PSG to intervene at a late stage in the talks.

The Brazilian’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, has explained that the role of PSG sporting director Leonardo was significant in persuading Moura to move to the free-spending Ligue 1 side.

“Everything was agreed between Sao Paulo and Manchester United,” Ribeiro told UOL.

“The contract had been written (and) just needed to be signed. But then Leonardo called me and asked to talk to Lucas.

More pleasant

“They talked. Leonardo was helped by the fact he is Brazilian. He was very gentle with Lucas.

“The possibility of living in Paris – a much more pleasant city than Manchester – also influenced his decision. But it was PSG’s project that impressed Lucas.”

It represents a remarkable turnaround as United boss Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to have got his man, and Ribeiro has detailed his own hectic role in the negotiations.

“I’m just a worker,” he added. “I’ve not been able to sleep for five days here in Europe. I can’t rest and I miss my son.

“I boarded a plane at 5am in Manchester and arrived in Paris this morning to finalise everything with Leonardo.

“But what gives me the taste of victory is that I know Lucas is happy.”

PSG agree Moura deal

Manchester United had wanted the midfielder, who is preparing for the Olympic football final, but he opted to join PSG on a four-year contract as part of a massive spending spree.

The French club have already signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva and the €45million (£35.5m) acquisition of Moura takes the spending on that trio to more than £120m.

PSG said in a statement: “Paris Saint-Germain and Sao Paulo FC have reached today an agreement for the definitive transfer of Lucas Rodriguez Moura Da Silva.

“The player and Paris Saint-Germain have also signed an agreement from January 2013 to July 2017.

“The player will join Paris Saint-Germain and his new teammates in January 2013 for the second half of the season 2012/2013.

“By signing a young talent of the quality of Lucas Rodriguez Moura Da Silva, Paris Saint-Germain is already preparing the future.”

Thiago Silva welcomes Lucas link

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to Europe this summer, with Manchester United initially thought to be at the forefront of the queue of clubs lining up a bid for him.

PSG have also been linked with Lucas, with the player himself revealing that he has talked to the club’s sporting director Leonardo and compatriot Thiago Silva and that he could make the move in January next year.

Thiago Silva is delighted with Lucas’ inclination to sign for the Parisian team and has enthused that he would like to have his fellow Brazil international play alongside him for the Ligue 1 club.

“We talked last week,” the 27-year-old said in L’Equipe. “Leonardo also asked me about my opinion about Lucas.

“I only said good things about him not because he is my friend, but because he has huge technical qualities.

“Obviously, I would like to have him alongside me at PSG. He would be very helpful – he is fast and is skilful in front of goal.”

Moura set for PSG switch

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed his interest in landing the midfielder last month and he missed Sunday’s friendly against Valerenga in order to try to push through a deal.

The Red Devils had appeared close to agreeing a fee with Sao Paulo for the 19-year-old, but big-spending PSG have now gazumped the Premier League club.

Reports had also suggested that United were unwilling to meet the demands of Moura’s agent and that the player had been put off a move to Manchester.

Moura has now admitted that talks are underway with PSG and he is expected to leave Sao Paulo in January in order to link up with compatriots Thiago Silva and Leonardo, who is the French club’s sporting director.

Focused

“This is a good thing,” Moura told Folha after Brazil’s Olympic Games semi-final win over South Korea. “I’ll stay at Sao Paulo until the end of the year. Things are well underway.”

He added to Globo Esporte: “No doubt that would be better because I can help Sao Paulo a bit more. I have always said that I want to win a title before leaving and qualify the team for the Libertadores Cup.

“If it happens in January, I’ll be able to do that for Sao Paulo.

“I’m focused on the national team. I can only say something after the Olympics. It’s well underway, but not done.

“I talked to Thiago Silva and Leonardo, they said many good things about the club, the project they are implementing there.”

Sao Paulo confirm PSG talks

Manchester United have already bid for the teenager this summer, whilst Inter Milan have also spoken to the 19-year-old.

However, neither United nor Inter have been able to meet Sao Paulo’s demands – which are reportedly around £45million (£35.7million).

Inter chief Massimo Moratti said on Tuesday that PSG had indeed made a bid which matched Sao Paulo’s valuation.

Now speaking to France-based newspaper Le 10 Sport, Sao Paulo vice-president Joao Paulo de Jesus Lopes has confirmed PSG have made contact.

Interest

“We have been probed by PSG about Lucas,” he admitted.

The Brazilian club’s official also confirmed that former Sao Paulo star and current PSG sporting director Leonardo was in regular contact.

“Leonardo has a very good relationship with Sao Paulo. But for now nothing is definite,” he added.

It is believed that PSG’s offer would see Moura remain in Brazil until January, but Lopes says the player will make the final decision on his future.

“The possibility exists but it is down to the player’s interests. The policy of Sao Paulo is to follow the desires of the player. If the player wishes to leave, Sao Paulo will not create any obstacle. But we must receive a proposal that is appropriate,” he said.

“It’s a financial issue. Paris Saint-Germain is a big club in European football and if the player’s interests and also the club’s are met, I do not see why it would not happen.”

Moratti reveals PSG bid for Moura

Manchester United had been leading the chase for the Brazilian forward and have been in talks with his club and his representatives.

But the English giants have been unable to agree terms and now big-spending PSG look to have agreed to Sao Paulo’s demands of a fee in excess of €40million – a figure United were unwilling to meet.

Inter were also very much in the bidding for Moura, but they too have baulked at the demands.

Now Moratti has stated that PSG, who have been tracking Moura for a number of months, have stepped up their interest by making a firm bid.

“Faced with such prices, we cannot compete. We have a different logic than that of Paris Saint Germain,” said Moratti.

“In any case, there are no regrets that we didn’t finish off the move, as the cost was already pretty high a few days ago.

“The €45m that PSG offered is completely illogical and for us it would’ve been very out of key with our approach.

“PSG are starting a new era, so they are completely reconstructing the squad. At least I can relish the fact I’m saving money.

“We were close to Lucas, for several days we talked about him, but honestly I never really believed in this deal, because it was too expensive.

“I have no regrets, the only certain thing now is that I saved money. (Bologna’s, Gaston) Ramirez and (Catania’s, Alejandro) Gomez as alternatives? There are many good players, but I don’t choose the players.”

Denial

Reports in Brazil have stated once Moura has finished playing in the Olympic football tournament a deal will be announced.

It is also claimed as part of the agreement with PSG – he would remain in Brazil until January, which also appealed to Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo football director Adalberto Baptista told UOL: “I won’t talk about this subject anymore because that’s the fifth club the press say have signed Lucas.”

The player’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, insists talk of a move to PSG is hugely premature, insisting it was paper talk.

“I am in Europe to watch the games,” he told Terra.

“First they said Lucas was at Manchester United, now he belongs to PSG. Everyone is trying to build their story like a jigsaw puzzle.”

However, Thiago Silva, who is currently with Moura in London for the Olympics, hinted he had talked to him about PSG and there was something happening.

“I did suggest him to Leonardo as he asked me,” he told ESPN Brazil.

“I praised Lucas not because he plays with me, not because he is my friend but because he is a player that can contribute a lot to the national team. He is a skilful player that can decide in short space and finish quickly.

“Lucas and I have been talking since last week because I noticed something was reported on the press.

“Then I talked to Lucas to know what was going on. It’s still open, they are still talking but it’s not done.”