Neymar is still PSG’s top dog but Kylian Mbappe is close behind

Paris Saint-Germain have won all five of their competitive matches so far this season, picking up the Trophee des Champions and top spot in Ligue 1 along the way. So it’s fair to say they don’t tolerate failure.

Ligue 1 is a must, but progress in the Champions League will be key. They will rely on €222m star Neymar and €160m worth of Kylian Mbappe to get them there. But with the new season underway, we look at who joins them among the most important players at PSG.

This list is not extensive and has been ranked according to varying factors. Some players still with a part to play have been omitted. Performance, potential, the ability to make an impact and influence the course of a game, other options in that area of the field, the ability or inability to replace them and market value have all played a part in selecting the 15.

1. Neymar

Despite Kylian Mbappe’s enormous success at this summer’s World Cup and the Brazilian superstar’s disappointment, Neymar is still PSG’s top dog — just. It is a closer run thing than ever before but the South American’s mature start to the campaign, reflected by his consistent form, keeps him ahead of Mbappe for now.

2. Kylian Mbappe

After a whirlwind World Cup in Russia this summer, the France international’s €160m move from Monaco to PSG was made permanent. The 19-year-old finds himself as a genuine Ballon d’Or contender but his explosive start to the new season has also shown that he still has room for improvement.

3. Adrien Rabiot

Despite his quiet summer while his country were winning the World Cup without him, the Frenchman’s value to PSG has never been higher with less than 12 months left on his contract and Barcelona interested in luring him to Camp Nou. He has been Tuchel’s most consistent performer over preseason and the start of term, so it is easy to see why the coach is desperate for him to stay.

4. Marquinhos

Over the past few seasons, the Brazil international has become an established member of the starting XI, so it is a surprise to see Tuchel trying him out in defensive midfield. Whether or not that positional switch lasts, his significant experience at such a young age is vital and makes him arguably Les Parisiens‘ most important defender.

5. Edinson Cavani

Coming off the back of two highly prolific campaigns, Cavani is PSG’s all-time top goal scorer and looks good for one more clinical return this term based on his early form. At 31, though, next summer will a crucial moment of decision for the Uruguayan, Tuchel, and the capital club’s leaders over his future.

6. Marco Verratti

When fit, the Italy international changes the way PSG play. His fitness is a big issue, though, and one that has stunted his growth over the past few seasons. Once back in action, if he can stay fit and in form, he will be one of Tuchel’s greatest assets. If not, it might be time to move the fragile Azzurri star on.

7. Thiago Silva

Maintained as captain despite his gradually declining form, this season could be the Brazilian’s last as an undisputed starter. The former AC Milan man was already starting to slip out of favour under Unai Emery and with Thilo Kehrer signed at Tuchel’s behest, even a three-man defence might not have room for Silva long-term.

8. Presnel Kimpembe

Last campaign’s Champions League round of 16 first leg away at Real Madrid showed that the French World Cup winner is ready to usurp Silva. Tuchel’s introduction of a three-man central defensive unit has bought the South American a bit of time but Kimpembe’s recent contract extension until 2023 is a clear indication that he is the future.

9. Gianluigi Buffon

The legendary goalkeeper has made a convincing start to life at Parc des Princes and looks like he will be a great pick up for the campaign. Only time will tell whether his strong form will last but though Italy legend is 40, do not be surprised if he remains strong competition for Alphonse Areola next summer.

10. Alphonse Areola

After a difficult summer, things are looking brighter for the World Cup winner. After a couple of appearances to get up to speed ahead of the Champions League (Buffon is suspended for the first three matches), he is in line to make his full debut with Les Bleus (after winning the World Cup as a backup) and talks over a contract extension are progressing well.

11. Thomas Meunier

Fortunate to still be at the club after a run-in with the supporters last term, the Belgium international is enjoying his chance to shine with Dani Alves out injured. It will be interesting to see what state Alves is in when he returns later this year as he was a master of the right wing-back role in his prime, so could overtake Meunier again.

12. Dani Alves

Recuperating from knee surgery, the former Barcelona and Juventus man should be back in action before the end of 2018. He was already struggling at times during his debut season after a positive start, though, and he is not getting any younger at 35.

13. Timothy Weah

Along with fellow youth academy graduate Christopher Nkunku, Weah was the star of PSG’s preseason during the International Champions Cup (ICC). The U.S. international carried that form into competitive action with his first two senior goals at club level. However, Tuchel hinted that the arrival of Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting has changed Weah’s situation, so he joins Nkunku in being a reliable squad option.

14. Julian Draxler

Expected to feature heavily under Tuchel, the Germany international has been reduced to a bit-part player. Emery’s tinkering appears to have cost Draxler, who will hope to win his compatriot over before the winter transfer window opens.

15. Layvin Kurzawa

Tuchel was happy to go with the Frenchman as his starting left-back, saving him from a summer move away, but things have not gone well since. The former Monaco man is out indefinitely with a back problem that could require surgery and Juan Bernat has been drafted in from Bayern Munich with Stanley N’Soki filling in as he negotiates professional terms. Time could be running out for Kurzawa.