The Parisiens have watched a number of exciting young players leave the club knowing their opportunities will be limited
A simple glance at a Paris Saint-Germain teamsheet may not reveal it, but the Ligue 1 side are one of Europe’s most prolific producers of young talent.
While glittering names like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria dominate the starting XI, scratch below the surface and there is potential abound to be found in the young players on the bench and beyond.
Each year a new group of ‘Titis’ graduates from the academy and toys with stardom at one of Europe’s glitziest clubs. Rarely, though, do these flirtations develop into anything more significant than flings, with the Parisians unable to inspire the devotion of their young prodigies in the manner that sides such as Barcelona and Manchester United have in the past.
Since the QSI takeover in 2011, PSG’s greatest flaw beyond their failure to win the Champions League has been their rank inability to integrate their young talent into long-standing members of their first-team squad.
Moussa Dembele was the first to go in 2012 as he departed for Fulham, disenchanted with the lack of pathway to the starting XI. His journey has since taken him to Celtic and now to Lyon, with the striker expected to complete his personal circle by joining one of Europe’s biggest clubs in the not-too-distant future.
There have been others. Kingsley Coman fled a year later to Juventus and subsequently to Bayern Munich, where he is a regular force for a side who have enjoyed a greater measure of European success than PSG in recent years.
More recently, Moussa Diaby and Christopher Nkunku switched successfully to the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig respectively, highlighted by FC Ratings of 85 and 82 respectively.
Much of Lille’s recent success in Ligue 1, meanwhile, has owed much to picking up Mike Maignan and Jonathan Ikone from the capital side, and it is expected that Timothy Weah will ultimately make a similar impression after an injury-ravaged campaign.
Even the one player who truly graduated from the youth academy with sufficient credit to make himself a genuine first-team regular, Adrien Rabiot, ultimately departed last summer on a Bosman move to Juventus.
And history is set to repeat itself in 2020 – and perhaps in a more damaging fashion than ever before. Continue reading