Paris Saint-Germain are a club with a major financial advantage over most of its competitors, fueled by the heavy investment in the squad by their owners – Qatar Sports Investments. They have succeeded in climbing up the ranks in the past years and now sit among the biggest names in football. They have influenced the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura and many more big names to put pen to paper and sign for the club.
But amidst the superstar line up, we take a look at their younger and lesser known players who are set to take over the first team in the coming years. All of them have been through the PSG ranks from the youth academy to the PSG B squad, and a few have already made their professional debuts with the senior squad. These are the players that prove that PSG is more than just a club that buys big names – it is also a club that is looking into their future. Here are the top 5 young superstars that we think will take over the first team in the coming years:
1. Christopher Nkunku
The 18 year old midfielder made his professional debut for PSG in a 2-0 win against Shakhtar Donetsk in UEFA Champions League group stage in 2015. PSG’s U19 coach, Francois Rodrigues, spoke about Nkunku in an interview with Goal.com, saying:
“I’ve known him since he came to the club at 13. He’s not the quickest or the most physical, but his technique is excellent. He’s switching into another world. He can improve a great deal and he already knows that.”
Nkunku’s playing style is similar to that of Marco Versatile. He is even capable of switching to the right and left sides of the midfield. His technical abilities and intelligence on the pitch make him a stand out talent amongst others of his age. The versatile midfielder will need to gain a bit of experience before he is ready to command PSG’s midfield. Definitely one to look out for in the near future.
2. Presnel Kimpembe
Kimpembe is a 20 year old French defender who joined the PSG youth academy in 2005 and managed to get into the PSG B team in 2013, where he made 36 appearances and scored 1 goal. Presnel made his professional debut in a 1-3 win in the Ligue 1 in October 2014.
Presnel is a confident, intelligent and strong defender. The 20 year old has an above average physical presence compared to other players of his age. He quickly adapts to the situation presented to him and doesn’t waste time in making decisions. Kimpembe has what it takes to be a great leader in the next 3-4 years, and is probably the most likely youngster to captain PSG in the near future.
3. Hervin Ongenda
Ongenda is a 20 year old winger who joined the PSG youth setup in 2006. He managed to climb up the ranks into the Paris Saint-Germain B squad, making a total of 28 appearances and scoring 9 times. In January 2013, he made his professional debut against Arras in the French Cup. During his time in the senior squad, he has managed to score one goal in the 8 opportunities he has been given. Hervin is currently on loan at Ligue 1 side SC Bastia.
His current spell isn’t helping him much as his form has been going down. But he is a player of immense potential; able to create scoring opportunities and has a relatively powerful shot. His technical abilities still need some smoothening, but he is at a level where we are able to see him as a bright, young prospect.
4. Alec Georgen
The 17 year old full back is not a widely talked about player, but is undoubtedly an impressive prospect who is improving with every season passing by. He has not yet made his professional debut, but is a regular starter for the PSG reserves team and may soon make it into the senior team. PSG’s U19 coach, Francois Rodrigues, was speaking in an interview with Goal.com and stated:
“He’s very close, he’s very young, but there’s already a good deal of maturity in his play. He’s an unassuming force. There’s never any excess on his part. He holds his position without flinching.”
But Rodrigues mentioned that he still has room for improvement:
“Crossing! I’ve not stopped telling him, but at the moment his crossing isn’t good enough. In one-v-one situations he can also improve.”
Alec has a sweet looking future ahead of him, provided he gets his debut soon and gains some experience playing at a higher level.
5. Lorenzo Callegari
This 17 year old French midfielder, who’s a good mate Alec, is a great example of how well the PSG academy is doing its job. PSG’s U19 coach, Francois Rodrigues, was speaking in an interview with Goal.com about Lorenzo and he stated:
“He’s a little less ready to be integrated into the professional side,”
When asked about moving him higher up in midfield, the coach replied:
“It’s a way to show him that he needs to be more decisive, at the moment, he has a tendency to hurry his final pass.”
Lorenzo is yet to make his professional debut with the senior squad, but at the level he is playing, accompanied with his composure and resilience, he isn’t far from breaking into the first team squad. Definitely another player to look out for in the coming years.
So it goes to show, PSG have the means to attract almost any footballer in the world using their massive financial reserves, but they have still managed to put together a very promising youth academy with astonishing starlets. There seems to be more to the club than just money.