There is a certain sense of déjà vu linked with most transfer windows, but on Sunday, Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos sparked memories of 12 months ago when he put doubts over his career at the French champions.
Last winter, when linked with a move to Manchester United, Laurent Blanc called the 21-year-old Brazilian “the future of PSG.”
This weekend, speaking to French news outlet Journal du Dimanche, the former AS Roma centre-back made it clear that he wasn’t going to wait forever for his chance to become a regular starter in the French capital.
He admitted he wanted to stay and fight for his place, but he would reconsider his position at the end of the season.
"Like everyone else, I always want to be a part of the starting line-up," he told JDD.
"I will continue to work to get my place. But it's true there will come a moment where I am older. You cannot just get used to sitting on the bench.
"There are six months left for PSG to win titles. After that, we'll see what happens."
It’s obvious that the player means a lot to the club, but as he is behind Thiago Silva and David Luiz in the pecking order, there is no obvious route for him to gain minutes in the first-team.
PSG fans have been calling for Marquinhos to be given more opportunities ever since he featured in their 3-2 win over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League group stage last season. With Thiago Silva out through injury, he partnered Luiz at the heart of the defence.
Apart from the diminutive Marco Verratti scoring a header, the game will be remembered for the image of Marquinhos after he put his body on the line to clear Jordi Alba’s goal bound shot off the line. Clearly pumped up, the Brazilian showed how much the result meant to him.
In Ligue 1 last season, the youngest of the three Brazilian centre-backs started 21 games – but most of those can be attributed to the time that Thiago Silva missed through injury. In comparison, Silva made 26 starts.
This campaign, Marquinhos has not been able to build on his excellent performances. He has only been able to start seven times compared to the 18 out of 19 games that captain Silva has played. It’s obvious that the player standing in the 21-year-old’s way is the former Chelsea man, David Luiz.
Everyone knows Luiz has a mistake in him, but the level of competition PSG's Ligue 1 opponents have provided so far has helped him stroll through the season. It won’t be until the pressure is upped in the Champions League that we see how the 28-year-old copes.
PSG payed Chelsea £50 million for Luiz last summer, and there is a feeling that regardless of form, it’s the curly haired defender that will always be picked due to their investment. The youngster obviously knows this, and it seems that his patience is wearing thin.
When he has played, Marquinhos has shown all the qualities you want in a modern day defender. Good in the air – often underrated – he is a weapon when PSG have set-pieces and important when under pressure.
Quick along the ground, last season he was more than able to fill in at right-back. He reads the game well and tries to intercept trouble rather than rely on last ditch tackles – he is also fearless, throwing himself in the way of shots and passes.
"Marquinhos has a spirit and a special mentality,” said Blanc last January. "We have done everything to keep him and we will do everything possible to extend his contract.” The defender put pen to paper in March, buoyed by his increased time on the pitch.
It is no surprise that he is now starting the weigh up his future. At his age, he needs to be playing games to develop further. Anyone who has watched his displays for PSG knows he is good enough to start for the Ligue 1 champions – but his chances are unlikely to increase over the next six months.
Unless there is an injury to one of the two starters, Marquinhos won’t replace them before the end of the season – meaning he will likely leave the Parisians. Which would be a disaster for Blanc, but a huge plus for whoever convinced him to join their club.
Manchester United and Barcelona have been linked in the past and once he lets his intentions be known, that list will only grow this summer.
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