How frustrating it must be, coming through at Paris Saint-Germain rather than, say, Celtic.
Boasting one of the best academies in mainland Europe, PSG have nurtured talent which has won Champions Leagues, World Cups and – most importantly – Betfred Cups.
The likes of Kingsley Coman, Odsonne Edouard, Moussa Dembélé, Nicholas Anelka and Patrice Evra have emerged through the youth set-up at the Parisian club (Squawka). The key thing here, however, is that those players needed to ply their trade elsewhere.
Edouard, for example, was never going to get into the first-team ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimović or Edinson Cavani.
Celtic have benefitted from this situation to great effect in recent years. Perhaps it’s time to look at the PSG youth academy again. Step forward, Arnaud Kalimuendo.
Life Through a (spell at) Lens
Valued at £1.8m by Transfermarkt, Kalimuendo is spending a season on loan at PSG’s divisional rivals RC Lens. The striker has made the best of his 423 minutes played in Ligue 1, scoring 4 goals (WhoScored?).
Funnily enough, it was Lens who landed the Parisiens’ title hopes their first blow this season, beating PSG 1-0 (BBC). Kalimunedo featured in that game for his parent club.
He’s currently an international colleague of our own Odsonne Edouard. Kalimuendo made his France U21 debut in October against Slovakia. Like Edouard, he’s an able dribbler on the ball who can pass and finish with confidence.
His trickery and bravery mean that he’s often fouled – 0.8 times per game, according to WhoScored?. Moreover, he’s averaged 0.9 dribbles and 0.8 shots. It’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t be the case that those numbers would skyrocket with full games under his belt.
At 5’8″, he isn’t the tallest in the world, but he’s a full inch taller than Henrik Larsson. Listen; he’s going to have to get used to those kinds of comparisons if he’s going to be linked with Celtic.
However, with his low centre of gravity, he could more easily be compared to Scott McDonald or Robbie Keane.
Likelihood of a move to Celtic
Is a Celtic approach for Kalimuendo feasible?
Short answer: yes with a but.
It seems unlikely that the young Frenchman would want to interrupt his momentum at Lens. Firstly, young players need consistency. Secondly, he’s been impressive but probably hasn’t done quite enough to get scouts writing furiously in a notepad.
So, in January, no permanent move seems feasible. Here’s the ‘but’.
Celtic, as discussed, have had a great deal of joy from the PSG youth carousel. Arguably, our best strikers since Larsson have come from that recruitment focus.
Lining up the French youngster for a summer move is not beyond the realms of possibility.
It would take a hell of an effort from Kalimeundo to stake a first-team berth at the Parc de Princes. The fact is that Qatar Sports Investment want a Champions League in the trophy cabinet, and they want it yesterday. Clearly, their recruitment is focussed on big names who can immediately make an impact, especially in Europe.
The irony, of course, is that a former PSG academy player scored the winner against them in last year’s CL final (BBC).
If Kalimunedo can be convinced to join the Bhoys, he’d follow in the footsteps of players who have gone on to great success elsewhere. Sadly, Celtic represent a stepping stone to players from Europe, as we can guarantee a big stage and playing time. That might be just what the striker needs.
The PSG to Celtic route is well-worn and we all know the advantages. Kalimuendo will too.
But it’s not just Eddy and Moussa. No, Youssouf Mulumbu can also boast spells in both the French capital and at Celtic Park (Soccerbase). Now, there’s a name.