In the hunt to maintain form, establish the pace and keep the faith heading towards the midpoint of the 2017-18 Ligue 1 Conforama season, replacements will be needed to keep the talent level fresh and competitive. Thiago Motta, in his many years of service to Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain, is nearing the end of his career. Lingering injuries and imminent arthroscopic cleaning have forced the hand of Antero Henrique, the PSG sporting director, in finding a competent successor.
Meet the man to do it. His name is Marcus Wendel Valle da Silva, who simply goes by Wendel. He currently plays for Fluminense in the Brazilian Serie A and has been on Henrique’s radar for a good deal of this year. However, with Motta’s fitness and health becoming a grave liability to the project at Le Parc des Princes, Wendel will be needed to fill in and play with the big boys in French club football and maybe even Europe and elsewhere. The transfer fee is expected to be at around 10 million EUR plus bonuses.
Now here is the catch. If you remembered how Paris secured the rights of the soon-to-be-departed Lucas Moura (a longtime servant to the Parisians) and current super sub Giovani Lo Celso, Wendel may not officially move to Paris until next summer. Wendel could still be at Fluminense on loan. Lucas was on loan at Sao Paulo and Lo Celso was on loan at Rosario Central before completing their moves respectively. Meanwhile, Henrique is working very hard to get Fabinho from AS Monaco and in the process deepening the already-strong Brazilian pipeline of talent on this PSG side, anchored by captain Thiago Silva, Dani Alves, Marquinhos and Neymar Santos Jr.
On the other hand, the midfield problems for PSG in terms of depth could cause Nasser Al-Khelaifi to lift the loan provision and allow Wendel to ease into the first team come January. Christopher Nkunku and Lorenzo Callegari aren’t winning the trust of Emery, the embattled Marco Verratti (who could only watch Italy’s World Cup qualification campaign rip itself to tatters) and France regular Adrien Rabiot get some slack cut off them, and as we mentioned, Lucas is making a departure back to Brazil as he is now a bona fide soccer dad.
Continuity, reliability and a willingness to learn. There could be national team minutes for Wendel come the next World Cup cycle if his form at Paris Saint-Germain is revealed to be a successful one, but only if those three attributes are integrated in spades. And let’s not forget, learning the ropes from a certain Neymar Santos Jr. as well as Alves, Marquinhos and Silva wouldn’t be so bad, either. That’s settling in with an intention to win, to dream bigger, as per the club moniker. Perhaps very soon, if not sooner, Wendel will be changing his nickname…to Windel.