What is PSG’s ‘elite’ group?
The Ligue 1 champions have selected several players from the academy to train regularly with the first team throughout the season.
If there is something that PSG is eager to achieve - other than winning the Champions League of course - it is to give assurances to various jewels from the club’s academy that they have a first-team future. For many years now the club has seen players depart from the youth ranks in search of opportunity elsewhere and that trend is something that PSG’s new sporting director, Luis Campos, wants to radically alter.
Campos’ latest suggestion has been to create an ‘elite’ group within the first-team structure: this group will consist of a selection of academy players who will train regularly with the first team to improve and get a feel for the rigors of a first-team season. The players who have been chosen to form this group are: Warren Zaire-Emery, Ayman Kari, El Chadaille Bitshiabu, Ismael Gharbi and Lucas Lavallée.
PSG plan to use Messi, Mbappé and Neymar as inspiration
The five players chosen by Campos will alternate between training sessions with the first team and playing in the Youth League, a competition which will continue to allow them to hone their skills. By training with the first team, they will also benefit from learning from the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Leo Messi and Neymar, while being treated as senior squad members. PSG are determined to avoid a repeat of situations such as those that saw players including Coman, Nkunku, Diaby and Kouassi leave Paris due to a lack of opportunity at the Parc des Princes.
Another player who left without making an impact on the first team was former Barça youth star Xavi Simons. According to L’Équipe, PSG will keep an eye on the young Dutchman, who joined PSV as a free agent. The Ligue 1 side have an informal clause with PSV by which the Eredivisie club must informed PSG if an offer arrives for the player. PSG’s long-term goal may be to bring Simons back in 2023 to form part of the ‘elite’ group.