The internet is always quick to catch ironies. So when PSG's ultra-expensively assembled collection of stars lost their first Champions League final, thanks to a goal from a former academy graduate, social media was quick to react. With the plethora of stars and tonnes of oil money, it's easy to forget how good PSG's academy is.
Premier League legends like Nicholas Anelka, Patrice Evra have come from PSG. So have the likes of Presnel Kimpembe, Adrien Rabiot and Alphonse Areola. But it's the amount of young talent that PSG let go is the problem. The best PSG academy player for each year gets an award called the Titi D'or, which was started in 2007.
Of the people who have won the award in the last 13 years, only Alphonse Areola is still contracted to the club and he too was on loan at Real Madrid last season.
Let us look at 5 players who left the Parc des Princes and are now excelling elsewhere.
#5 Moussa Diaby
A pacy, skillful winger who can play on both wings, Moussa Diaby was let go by PSG last summer despite impressing. He got 2 goals and 6 assists in the 2018/19 Ligue 1 season, having played just 25 times, mostly from the bench. Bayer Leverkusen snapped him up for just 15 million and he already looks like a great buy.
Diaby scored 5 and assisted 5 in his 16 Bundesliga starts, playing on either side of Leverkusen's 4231. Still only 21, Diaby promises to improve massively and PSG might regret the decision to sell their 2016 Titi D'or winner.
#4 Odsonne Edouard
Aged just 22, Edouard has 53 goals and 18 assists in just 4 seasons for Celtic. The team from Glasgow win everything domestically and the Frenchman is a big reason for it. Initially on loan, Celtic bought the centre forward for a paltry 10.3 million from PSG.
Last season, he scored 3 and assisted 2 in the Europa League as well, showing he has the pedigree to do it on the big stage. Often linked with a move to the Premier League, this might be the summer he moves on. The 2015 winner of the Titi D'or has garnered a lot of interest from the likes of Aston Villa, Leeds, Arsenal and Leicester City.
#3 Moussa Dembele
Another PSG youth striker who moved to Celtic, Moussa Dembele has had quite the journeyman career although he's just 24. His big break came in the Championship with Fulham, when he scored 15 goals. He then moved to Celtic and he was very consistent there as well, scoring 17 in the very first season.
Now he's at Lyon and again he's excelled with 16 Ligue 1 goals last season. More importantly, he scored twice as Lyon upset Manchester City in the Champions League quarterfinal. Dembele is another academy product that PSG let go off too early.
#2 Christopher Nkunku
A creative attacking midfielder, Nkunku has just enjoyed the best season of his career. He accumulated 5 goals and 13 assists in the Bundesliga this season, playing for RB Leipzig. He was also crucial in the club's run to the Champions League semi finals. Leipzig, who are known for their excellent scouting especially in France, managed to buy him for just 13 million.
Nkunku made his PSG debut way back in 2015-16 but the 22 year old never managed more than 28 league starts for the Parisians. The Red Bull owned Leipzig club seems to given his career new 'wings' and Nkunku will be now looking to add a France cap to his growing CV.
#1 Kingsley Coman
Kingsley Coman is undoubtedly the best of the lot. No one has recieved the Titi D'or more times than Coman and nobody has achievements quite like his. In his 9 year professional career, Coman has won a league title every season, playing for PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich. He has remarkably won 20 major trophies aged just 24.
Sunday night though was the crowning moment of his career as he scored the only goal in the Champions League final to win it for the Bavarians, in the process beating the club he started his career at.
Despite all his talents and performances, Coman is severely injury ravaged. In fact, had it not been for injuries he would have probably been in the France squad that lifted the 2018 World Cup in Russia. With the arrival of Leroy Sane at the Allianz Arena, Coman will have to fight for a starting spot come next season.Published 25 Aug 2020, 18:47 IST