At 2:30 PM (CET) on June 12th, 2011, the official website of Paris Saint-Germain FC announced that Kevin Gameiro had signed a four year deal. Outside sources claim that the fee was 11 million euros with additional incentives possibly worth 15 million. This marked the end of the transfer saga of one of Ligue 1′s brightest stars, having lodged 56 goals and 19 assists in his last three seasons and scoring/creating a goal every 133 minutes this season. Gameiro had been heavily sought after by several clubs, including Valencia, Newcastle, Villareal, and Sevilla in addition to PSG. The diminutive striker had nearly transferred to Valencia in January, agreeing to terms with the club, before Lorient noticed that Valencia hadn’t actually made an offer…oops! Gameiro stayed the second half of the season and came in second in the Ligue 1 scoring charts for the second year running.
At the close of the season, interested was renewed, Gameiro constantly being linked to foreign clubs, Newcastle and Valencia in particular. Gameiro turned down Newcastle after their bid was accepted, shocking many EPL fans who have the unfortunate presumption that everyone wants to play in their league. He told the press it was a choice between Valencia and PSG for him, and we all know how that turned out.
The significance of his decision is huge. When was the last time a non top three French club was able to beat out the likes of Los Che for one of Europe’s rising stars?
Some may argue (Dave Trotter) that PSG is simply creating a Ligue 1 big four with their new oil money, but even if that’s true (which is unlikely, Manchester City spent billions and got to the champions league in…three years), this is representative of another, more important, change.
For years Ligue 1 has been plagued by a singular problem: after two or three seasons, any and all quality players leave for the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, or occasionally the Bundesliga. This decision by Gameiro symbolizes the beginning of a trend in the other direction, and anything that changes this cycle of yearly heartbrake is an excellent thing for the league and its supporters.Follow @ThomasLigue1