PROFILE | Arnaud Kalimuendo: A successful PSG youth product, the rarest of talents

This is taken from the GFFN 100, our leading 150-page FREE publication ranking the best 100 players in France, see the full list and read every profile right here.

One of PSG’s main problems is that their star player transfer policy means opportunities are scarce for youth products such as ex-Lens ace Arnaud Kalimuendo. 2021 was a tremendous year for the 20-year-old striker and 2022 confirmed his talent. In the second half of the 2021/22 season, he finished top scorer (12 goals) for a Lens side with many attacking options.

With uncertainty surrounding Mauricio Pochettino’s future, it was rumoured PSG would keep Lens loanee Kalimuendo, but would an extended stay at his academy club been best for the player’s development with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé to compete with for minutes? Probably not. In the end, the ex-Tottenham manager left and the new sporting director Luis Campos cleared house, selling players like Kalimuendo, who joined Rennes for €20m. An interesting proposition for all involved.

At Rennes, Kalimuendo has been used as a striker in a 4-4-2 next to ex-Nice goal-getter Amine Gouiri, a talented combination. And with creative midfielders like Benjamin Bourigeaud, Martin Terrier, Lovro Majer and Flavien Tait in support, chances aren’t few and far between. Just like at Lens, Kalimuendo has started most of the games he was fit for ahead of talented attacking talents such as winger Jérémy Doku and the up-and-coming striker Matthis Abline.

Kalimuendo’s ball retention remains excellent, be it as a lone striker or when partnered with a talented attacker like Amine Gouiri. However, the Frenchman has only netted three goals in a side that has the best home attack in the league with 21 goals, two ahead of PSG’s 19.

Rennes’ top scorer is actually Martin Terrier and Kalimuendo is happy to take one for the team as long as it means getting the right result. Talent plus a good attitude will stand the striker in good stead. Those two qualities sometimes don’t go hand-in-hand.

Philip Bargiel | GFFN

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