Young players need to stop leaving PSG – Leonardo

Martin Macdonald
Young players need to stop leaving PSG – Leonardo

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has lamented the amount of young wonderkids who have left the club in recent years, and warned that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere.

Over the past decade or so, numerous high-profile young players have left PSG for free or nominal fees, including the likes of Moussa Dembele, Moussa Diaby, Christopher Nkunku, and Kingsley Coman.

A major reason for this has been PSG’s recruitment which has focused on bringing in superstars like Kylian Mbappe from Monaco and Neymar from Barcelona rather than nurturing younger talent.

Leonardo has questioned the success of those who have left at a young age, though, and says players often contact the Ligue 1 champions about returning.

“PSG have lost a youngster, but sometimes I think it is not PSG that loses, but young people who lose PSG,” the Brazilian explained to France Bleu.

“There are a lot of young people who call back and want to come back..

“Those who left when they were 16, 17 or 18 – where are they today? The percentage of players who get it to something is very small.”

Tanguy Kouassi to Bayern

The PSG director used the example of Tanguy Kouassi as a player who left the club for Bayern Munich having featured in the Champions League for the Ligue 1 side, only to barely play in his first year in Germany.

“Tanguy Kouassi played for us in the Champions League, after that he spent a year at Bayern without playing,” Leonardo said.

“Honestly, we don’t mourn Kouassi, but you have to stop thinking about that elsewhere is paradise.”

Kouassi has had his fair share of injury problems since moving to Bayern, but has only featured in one competitive game so far, replacing Jerome Boateng for a 21-minute cameo against Stuttgart in November.

His injuries have included a thigh problem picked up with France U20s, and a ruptured muscle issue which kept him out for nearly two months.