Le50 2016: Jean-Kevin Augustin – Paris Saint-Germain
Jean-Kevin Augustin is the next up and coming player at Paris Saint-Germain, and he is reaping the rewards of a new shift by the management to augment a multi-million pound playing squad with the best that the academy has to offer. In other words, to avoid another Kingsley Coman scenario.
And unlike another young player in his position at PSG – Hervin Ongenda – Augustin appears to be favoured at the club, making the matchday squad and enjoying more opportunities in the first team, which is something that has undoubtedly turbo-charged his development over the past 12 months.
Blanc’s favouring of Augustin is no fluke. A versatile player with bags of pace, he offers the side another option in matches. With a preference – not too dissimilar to Lucas Moura – to run at opponents, and to bamboozle the rearguard with superb positional skills, it has aided him to be on track for at least 20 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain in 2015-16, his breakout year.
And that figure is excellent considering the numbers that his peers, including the departed Coman and the likes of Ongenda and Presnel Kimpembe, have totalled in the last few years. With a major reshuffle expected at the Parc des Princes with the future of heavyweights Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani unclear, one could actually earmark ‘JKA’ as a future star for les Parisiens, who have been surprisingly short on homegrown talent in the Qatari era.
A couple of outstanding cameo appearances have helped the young star build up trust in Blanc’s eyes, and in the former France coach, he has a mentor who can truly take him to the next level. So far, the results have been more than promising. Augustin’s exposure to the first team since the start of the season has enabled him to transfer that energy and know-how to the youth side, leading Paris Saint-Germain into the last eight of the UEFA Youth League, where he has notched four goals in six appearances, including three in two against Shakhtar Donetsk. Such results earned him the captain’s armband for the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in the last 16, thereby cementing his position as the cream of the crop in the next batch of potential stars being formed at the Ooredoo Training Centre.
One could argue that Augustin has it pretty easy, though the young level-headed forward has more than capitalised on the chances that have come his way, much to the delight of Parisians who yearn for one of their own to blossom at the Parc.
Moreover, PSG’s unrelenting title charge in 2015-16, which saw them seal the title in record time, has earned Augustin more playing time as Blanc looks to exercise other options in his squad, as well as keeping other players fresh for other competitions. With Paris still in the hunt for multiple trophies, it has enabled Augustin to showcase his talent on a more regular basis among world-class talent. More crucially however, it can be done without any pressure, with the title already sewn up. It is a luxury many young players can only dream of.
The 18-year-old is on an upward trajectory, with many inside Paris hoping he can continue on this journey. A possible loan outside of Paris may be realistic to earn that regularity required to become a top player. Alternatively, if PSG decide to part with their current forward line, he may be thrown in at the deep end come next season. In Blanc, the young player has a big supporter who believes he can swim, and not sink if this becomes the case.
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