PARIS (AP) Despite its repeated failure to go beyond the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain has not lost its power of attraction.
Subsidized with nearly unlimited funds provided by Qatari investors and with their UEFA Financial Fair Play restrictions eased, the French champions have strengthened their squad with the recruitment of three new players, including the expected signing of Argentine winger Angel Di Maria.
The recruits add depth and skill to a squad that completed a domestic treble last season and again looks set to continue its domination on the national stage. The new season has not even kicked off but PSG has already reasserted its sovereignty over Lyon - its closest rival last season - with a 2-0 win in the Trophee des Champions.
Last season, Laurent Blanc's team was in a class of its own domestically despite some hiccups at the turn of the year. But the team showed its limits in the Champions League, losing 5-1 on aggregate to Barcelona in the quarterfinals. Being the best team in France this season won't be enough as PSG now looks to dominate in Europe with its star-studded team.
''Of course (Di Maria) will help us in the Champions League, it's the title we want to win and we never won it. It's our objective and our dream too,'' said winger Lucas Moura. ''We are going to work hard this season to win this title and I really think we can do it.''
Here are five things to know about the French league ahead of this week's first round of matches.
PSG'S ASTUTE MOVES
Not only has PSG been able to keep his best players, it added stability and firepower to a lineup already featuring some of football's biggest names.
PSG, which starts the defense of its title on Friday with a trip to Lille, has made an astute buy with the transfer of goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, who arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt and will likely get the No. 1 spot ahead of Salvatore Sirigu.
The club also compensated for Yohan Cabaye's departure with the arrival of versatile midfielder Benjamin Stambouli.
Di Maria, whose signing was expected to completed on Wednesday, should bring pace on the left flank of the Parisian attack in an exciting partnership with Argentine teammate Javier Pastore.
IBRAHIMOVIC'S FINAL YEAR
Deposed by Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette at the top of the scoring chart last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has just one year left on his contract with PSG.
The league's most colorful player, Ibrahimovic has endured a difficult season marred by injuries and controversy off the pitch. Before a possible move to Major League Soccer when his contract expires next summer, the tall Swede wants to finish with a bang after what he described as an ''OK'' campaign.
''We could do much more than what we did and hopefully this year we will do less mistakes than what we did and normally we should win, without doubts,'' said Ibrahimovic, who scored 75 league goals in three seasons.
Ibrahimovic will miss Friday's season opener because of a knee injury.
Year after year, the French league is bidding farewell to a large contingent of young players heading to the Premier League.
While highlighting the quality of the training provided in France, the continuous exodus painfully underlines the lack of economic power of French clubs.
Among the dozen of players who already crossed the Channel during the transfer window is promising Caen midfielder N'Golo Kante, who joined Leicester on a four-year deal.
''I would have been pleased to see him continue his career in France,'' said Caen president Jean-Francois Fortin. ''But for economic reasons it's not possible. French clubs obviously don't have the same financial means as their English counterparts.''
Among other players who left the Ligue 1 this summer for England are Ghana striker Jordan Ayew and Saint-Etienne midfielder Franck Tabanou.
LYON'S DEFENSIVE WORRIES
Lyon has kept its core of homegrown players at the club. Nabil Fekir, Anthony Lopes and Corentin Tolisso signed contract extensions until 2020. Star striker Alexandre Lacazette has been linked to a move away but Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas seems determined to keep him at least for one more year as his club returns to the Champions League and will move into a new stadium later this season.
With Lacazette, Fekir and new recruit Claudio Beauvue, Lyon coach Hubert Fournier has enough firepower to challenge domestically. But his team's defensive frailties are a source of worries: Lyon has conceded 14 goals and scored only two during its preseason games, including a 6-0 hiding from Arsenal.
''Letting aside our loss against Paris, which was a better team, what worries me the most is some players' attitude,'' Fournier said. ''They are hindering our collective performance and it serves them badly.''
The arrival of Manchester United right-back Rafael da Silva on a four-year deal should, however, bring some stability to Lyon's fragile back-four.
MONACO'S REBUILDING CONTINUES
After changing its development strategy last season, Monaco is sticking to its promotion of youth players.
Although it lured Stephan El Shaarawy from AC Milan, Monaco is not interested in acquiring big stars anymore. The 22-year-old Italy forward is among the dozen players that joined the club this summer, including promising youngsters like Portuguese winger Ivan Cavaleiro, Malian winger Adama Traore and Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic, who is on loan from Chelsea.