- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

PARIS (AP) - It’s time for Paris Saint-Germain to find out if the overseas money that has flooded into the club in recent years has been well invested.

Since Qatar Sports Investments completed its buyout, PSG has become one of the richest teams in Europe with an estimated budget of 490 million euros ($528 million).

The Qatari money has brought plenty of stars to the Parc des Princes and a reservoir of super-subs that will be needed in the closing stages of the season. As injuries mount within Laurent Blanc’s squad, the quality of PSG bench will be decisive in its quest for an unprecedented quadruple.

Following its impressive 4-1 win over Saint-Etienne in the semifinals of the French Cup, PSG is aiming for its first title this season against Bastia in Saturday’s League Cup final. The French league leaders are also in good position to defend their title in that competition and host Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals next week. They have an easier task against second-division side Auxerre in the French Cup final at the end of May.

But the team is depleted ahead of these crucial encounters, with Edinson Cavani, David Luiz, Thiago Motta and Lucas Moura all missing through injuries.

To add to PSG concerns, PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not eligible to play against Barcelona after he was sent off against Chelsea in the previous round and suspended for one match. Although he is available for the League Cup final, Ibrahimovic is also facing a four-match ban for an offensive rant against referees last month.

The Sweden international scored a hat trick against Saint-Etienne to extend his tally with the French side to 102 goals in less than three years.

Against Saint-Etienne, PSG substitutes made a big impact, with Ezequiel Lavezzi scoring his fifth goal this season and the inexperienced Adrien Rabiot stepping up to the challenge alongside Yohan Cabaye. The 29-year-old Cabaye has been hampered by injuries since his arrival in the French capital in January 2014 but the combined absence of Luiz and Motta is giving him the chance to start in big games.

“As with all the players, I expect from him to bring his quality. He has been very unlucky and that prevented him from integrating,” Blanc said. “But we have never given up on him, because we all know that a player needs attention and comfort when injured.”

With Marco Verratti also suspended against Barcelona, Cabaye is likely to be given a starting role while Blanc has plenty of options in defense, with Gergory Van der Wiel and Serge Aurier in competition for a slot on the right flank.

“The more you play, the greater are the chances of sustaining injuries. It’s simple arithmetic,” Blanc said. “But a big club playing in every competition needs to have a big squad, and that is the case with us. Unfortunately we were hit by some injuries (in the 3-2 win) against Marseille, but we have to make the best of it.”

Besides the League Cup final, there are league games also scheduled over the weekend. Here are some things to know ahead of the matches:

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GIGNAC HEADING OUT?

It’s unlikely that Marseille fans will see Andre-Pierre Gignac scoring again against bitter rival PSG like he did last weekend.

Gignac, the league’s second best striker with 18 goals, will be out of contract at the end of the season. According to Marseille president Vincent Labrune, the only way for Gignac to stay at the club is to agree on a reduction of his reported 330,000 euro ($355,000) monthly wages.

“We have always been clear to the player and his representative that we can’t afford such a salary anymore,” Labrune said. “It dates back to a period when the club’s economy was different, and when Marseille qualified for the Champions League two times out of three.”

Gignac’s agent, Jean-Pierre Cano, has denied ongoing talks with Dynamo Moscow over a possible transfer of the France forward but said he has not met with Labrune since October.

“Would Andre-Pierre like to stay at OM? Yes, certainly. Will he stay at OM? I don’t know for the moment,” Cano said. “But whatever happens, the most important thing is to underline his deep attachment to the club. We won’t let anybody fuel the idea that Andre-Pierre voluntarily arrived at this situation with his contract.”

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CARVALHO BACK WITH MONACO

After a scoreless draw with Montpellier left the club seven points behind PSG in the race for the title, Monaco has received a welcome boost with the return of veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho.

The 36-year-old Carvalho, who picked up a knee injury with Portugal last month, said he is fit enough to play in Friday’s match at Caen.

“I was ready to come back (against Montpellier), but the coach preferred to save me,” he said. “I am ready for the next match.”

After two consecutive draws, fourth-place Monaco trails second-place Lyon by six points in the battle for automatic Champions League qualification.

“It will be difficult for us now to get into the top two, but it is still possible,” Carvalho said. “We must look ahead now and forget about the last two games.”

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GUEGAN TO THE RESCUE

Olivier Guegan has been given the task of keeping Reims from relegation.

Following the club’s third consecutive loss, head coach Jean-Luc Vasseur has been fired and replaced by his assistant.

Guegan, a former Reims player, has been at the club for five years and worked with former coach Hubert Fournier as they led the Champagne side to the first division.

With seven matches remaining, including games against PSG and Lyon, Reims is three points above safety before hosting Nice on Saturday.

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