Short of listening to U2’s new album on repeat, I struggle to think of anything more boring than the international break.
Various members of the Paris Saint-Germain squad have been off on their travels around Europe playing for their respective international teams, while the French contingent were able to stay at home, stroll through a couple of friendlies and enjoy some free video-games courtesy of Xbox. It must be a hard life.
— yohan cabaye (@YCabayeofficiel) September 10, 2014
In the absence of any on-pitch action to report, it’s some products of the PSG training centre who have been making the headlines.
Firstly, our old friend Adrien Rabiot has unsurprisingly been left out of the PSG Champions League squad . One suspects he’s going to have a lot of time on his hands between now and January.
Then we had Kingsley Coman, now of Juventus, spilling the beans on why he chose to sign a professional deal in Italy this summer rather than staying in France.
“At PSG, the youngsters are pushed to one side,” . “It’s only when they saw I was leaving that they started talking to me, valuing me. But it was too late.”
Compare and contrast Coman – or the rascal Rabiot – with Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, who on Tuesday penned a new four-year contract at the Parc des Princes.
“Paris Saint-Germain is the perfect place to learn and progress alongside world-class players,” said
some PSG marketing flunky
JCB, who has bulldozed (sorry) his way into Laurent Blanc’s plans after a prolific pre-season. “I’ll do everything I can to help construct this ambitious project.”
So, who’s right? Is PSG a nasty superclub who ignores all our home-grown players, or a breeding ground for young, hungry, talent?
First off, it should be said that the differing views of these three players are probably shaped by their situations; Rabiot and Coman were/are in demand elsewhere, so it’s perhaps not surprising they’ve had their heads turned, whereas I can’t imagine too many big clubs have been looking at JCB lately following disappointing loan spells at Troyes and Valenciennes.
But even taking that into account, I think the attitude of both Rabiot (obviously) and Coman has been somewhat disappointing. The new PSG isn’t going to be the kind of club where five or six young players at a time are thrust straight into the first team, but show me a big, successful, club in Europe which adopts such a policy. They’re few and far between.
With that in mind, do Rabiot and Coman really think they can go elsewhere and get more game-time? Does Rabiot really think he’s going to start every game in a Roma midfield that includes Strootman, Pjanic and Di Rossi? Is Coman going to be a regular in a Juventus forward line where his competition is Tevez, Llorente and Morata? Coman has even stated in Le Parisien that he aims to play “15-20 games” this season – it’s far from inconceivable that he could have turned out that many times for PSG, with the team competing on four fronts. Why is it ok to go and sit on the bench at a foreign club and not a French one? It makes no sense to me.
At the same time, it seems likely that the club could have done more to keep these players happy and make them feel valued, but the players need to appreciate their place in the grand scheme of things. Coman only turned 18 in June, Rabiot is 19 – both could have easily bided their time to see how things panned out this season, rather than jumping ship – or wanting to jump ship – at the first opportunity
Rabiot and Coman could en prendre de la graine (as the French say) from Bahebeck, who let his football do the talking in pre-season, and is now in pole position to start should one of the regulars get injured.
It may turn out that Bahebeck’s faith in himself – and PSG’s willingness to use him – is misplaced, and that Rabiot and Coman are right to move on. But it would have been nice if the latter pair had shown a bit of patience with the club that spent the last few years nurturing their talents.