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Prospect: Paul-Georges Ntep

Currently turning heads in Ligue 2, 21-year-old Paul-Georges Ntep of Auxerre is really starting to create a reputation as an all-guns-blazing attacking footballer for both club and possibly soon country.

He was born on the 29th July 1992 in Douala, Cameroon before moving to France at the age of eight. He played for numerous sides, being invited to unsuccessful trials before joining CSF Breitgny, who also boast former players in French internationals Jimmy Briand and Patrice Evra. It’s here he was then spotted by Auxerre, a club that had given him a trial earlier in his career, and placed in the reserve side in 2009.

A good season there led to a call-up to the 1st team squad, where he made sporadic appearances including coming off the bench in a Champions League game before being dropped in the 2011-12 season by then manager Laurent Fournier. That season Auxerre were relegated, the usual max exodus ensued which usually gives youth a chance and Ntep seized it with both hands, making 34 appearances, scoring nine goals and assisting on four occasions.

He had a particularly good performance against a Guingamp side that ended up getting promoted at the end of the season. He practically grabbed the game that Auxerre were losing 1-0 by the scruff of the neck, attacking defenders at pace before scoring a wonderful equaliser and set up the third as they led 3-1. Although they went on to lose the game 4-3, it showed Ntep’s quality to change a game almost by himself which is an outstanding quality to have.

He’s started impressively the start of this season too, scoring twice in four games and again began to turn heads of clubs and fans alike. He’s also made a little stamp on the international scene, having scored twice for France in the Toulon Tournament for U21 players, although he can still be selected for either France or his native Cameroon as a full international.

Ntep is one of those footballers fans love to watch and when he gets the ball, take a sharp intake of breath because he’s about to do something. Whether it’s embarrassing a defender with excellent footwork, striking fear in them by running them at pace or he’s in behind ready to either deliver a killer ball or finish, Ntep is a crowd-pleasing player. He’s very direct, he has every trick in the book and when he has the ball he seems to only have one thing in mind and that’s the goal, whether it’s through creating a chance or taking one himself.

He’s attracted plenty of attention in the summer, with reports of a £1.5m offer from Hull City being flat-out rejected as Auxerre are holding out for at least €5m. Others are still sniffing around, with West Ham, Crystal Palace, Anderlecht, Standard Liege and Qatar side Al-Jaish but he’s probably above that standard and other French clubs are keeping tabs on the youngster. He’s certainly one to keep an eye out for if you can, he’s an exciting talent that could be making the step up to Ligue 1 or even the Premier League sooner rather than later.

Nathan Staples

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