The "successful" Paris Saint Germain academy

World football has seen how the money from very powerful capitals are gradually taking over clubs around the planet and, in some cases, in the most notorious circumstances, we see that many renowned signings are made that, although they help increase competitiveness of the team also has a negative effect on the clubs' academies since these new signings block the development of the players trained in said clubs, which leads them having to look for their future in other teams.

Paris Saint Germain is a clear example of this as the sheer number of world stars they have signed over the last decade has prevented the vast majority of their top prospects from growing there and this is magnified when several of the academy graduates of the Parisian club manage to have significant success in other teams.

Nicolas Anelka
Nicolas Anelka

The PSG academy

Since Qatar Sports Investments acquired the club in 2011, PSG's academy has benefited from the logical improvements that an investment of this magnitude brings. However, prior to the Qatari purchase, there was already a good job in the Parisian academy that produced players like Luis Fernandez, Nicolas Anelka, Sylvain Distin or Lorik Cana.

The Paris Saint Germain academy is one of the most successful in France, being several times champion sin the sub-17 and sub-19 categories both in national competitions such as the Championnat National and at an international level in competitions such as the Alkass International Cup. The work of the Parisian academy has been transferred to the women's team, being one of the most proliferated both in terms of trophies won and high profile players produced, such as Marie-Antoinette Katoto or Sandy Baltimore, both internationals with France and world class players in their own right.

Adrien Rabiot
Adrien Rabiot - one of the players from PSG's academy

Some graduates from the PSG academy:

  • Adrien Rabiot: The midfielder had a formative stage for several clubs in France and even had a brief stint at the Manchester City academy. However, his final stage as a youngster and his key step to professional football was at Paris Saint Germain in 2012. He has been one of the academy graduates of the Parisian club with the most prominence in the first team in the last decade, after half a season on loan at Toulouse. He would complete more than 200 games with the PSG shirt, which would help him to reach the French national team where he is a regular in the calls to date. After some problems reaching a contract renewal agreement, in 2019, Rabiot signed as a free agent for Juventus of Italy, where he has also maintained some regular playing time.
  • Kingsley Coman: He was one of the top prospects in PSG's academy and France youth teams who barely made his debut for the Parisian club. In 2014, after his contract ended and knowing that he would not have regular minutes, he left Paris Saint Germain to go, like Rabiot, to Juventus. He spent only one year in Italy with few minutes and then left, first on loan and then transferred to Bayern Munich, where he has managed to consolidate himself when injuries have had mercy on him. Coman's case is possibly the most painful of all since he was the one who scored the goal in the 2020 UEFA Champions League final where the Bavarian club beat PSG, leaving the Parisians one step away from reaching the main Qatari project goal.
  • Moussa Diaby: his transition to the first team was with an unsuccessful transfer to Crotone from which he returned to be a substitute but with regular playing time at PSG, which at that time was managed by Thomas Tuchel. The need to sell players in order to comply with the financial Fair Play led Diaby to sign for Bayer Leverkusen where he is one of the main figures of the German club and has had enough high quality performances to receive calls to the French national team.
  • Presnel Kimpembe: The defender is the only one on this list who remains at Paris Saint Germain since, despite making his professional debut as a footballer under Laurent Blanc, he consolidated himself in the first team with Unai Emery, taking advantage of the lack of players in that position due to the fact that the squad, at the time, only had Thiago Silva and Marquinhos as the only options besides Kimpembe himself. Additionally, he has been a regular in the calls for the French team with which he was a World Cup winner at Russia in 2018.
  • Christopher Nkunku: The versatile attacker was another of the academy's great prospects who reached the first team and managed to have important playing time first with Emery and then with manager Thomas Tuchel, who used him as an attacking alternative to Neymar, Edinson Cavani or Kylian Mbappe. As in the case of Diaby, PSG decided to sell Nkunku to RB Leipzig to comply with the financial regulations promoted by UEFA and compensate for the large investments in transfers that have been made in recent years. In the 2021-22 season, he established himself as one of the top scorers in the Bundesliga, earning calls to the French national team.

The objective of a football academy of a major club is to promote players to the first team, limiting the signings to the profiles and levels of players that cannot be "produced" in the academy. In the case of PSG, the scouting and player training work is good enough to generate players who consolidate themselves in important teams in Europe and, as we could see in the list of graduates, in the France team.

Clearly, the problem lies in settling in the first team due to the constant signings of stars that usually limit the minutes of the players trained in the club, plus the current financial restrictions for which PSG decides to use said players to balance the numbers.
Kelvin Tingling knows most things about football and also likes to write about it. Kelvin lives in Buenos Aires and his favorite team is Boca Juniors.