PARIS. The first clash of two of Europe’s newest financial heavyweights is set to indicate who has the early edge in France when champions Paris Saint-Germain host Monaco at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Both teams spent heavily in the off-season with Qatari-backed PSG going cheque-book to cheque-book against the Russian-backed Principality outfit in a billionaires’ battle for the game’s most coveted players.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc welcomed Uruguay international Edinson Cavani from Napoli where he was Italy’s top scorer last season, in the sixth highest transfer deal of all time at some €64m.
While Monaco stunned the European football world when they captured the highly-rated Colombian Radamel Falcao for €60m from Atletico Madrid.
Falcao was not the only recruit brought in by Italian coach Claudio Ranieri who also splashed out on big money deals to bring in James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Geoffrey Kondogbia, while captain Eric Abidal was picked up on a free from Barcelona.
Both teams are off to unbeaten starts although Monaco come into the match one point clear of Saint-Etienne while PSG are two points back but starting to change gears after an eye-catching 4-1 win over Olympiacos in midweek gave their UEFA Champions League quest a dream start.
“Obviously we are getting stronger and physically we have taken it to a higher level now,” Blanc, the former Bordeaux and France coach, said.
“We are going to prepare meticulously for this match against a very good team in very good form,” added the 47-year-old
Last season’s runners-up Marseille are also waiting in the wings and feeling the effects of not having the same financial clout as their rivals, but go into their away match against Bastia lying fourth and only three points off the pace.