The future of French football: Jean-Kevin Augustin

Harry Burford

Neymar Jr’s recent record-breaking switch to the French top-flight was one born out of rather exceptional circumstances. The 25-year-old Brazilian remains an extraordinary talent, Paris Saint-Germain remain a truly ambitious club – yet despite the obvious sense of hype and fervour surrounding such a deal, it nonetheless remains to be seen just how successful this remarkably big-money move will eventually work out in the long-run.

In the wake of Neymar’s widely anticipated arrival among the French capital, PSG’s decision to allow Jean-Kevin Augustin – one of their most talented young academy products in recent years, to up sticks and leave for the German Bundesliga has all but been swept aside firmly under the carpet.

The 20-year-old Frenchman was once touted for big things at the Parc des Princes – but with RB Leipzig recently picking up the young striker’s services for as little as €13 million this summer – it seems as if Augustin’s proposed rise among the upper echelons of the European game has taken something of a surprising turn.

Will the quick-footed centre-forward eventually establish himself as one of the most gifted young frontmen of his kind whilst plying his trade in Germany, or will Jean-Kevin Augustin forever find himself distanced from the likes of Neymar and co. regardless of how well he fares among the Bundesliga?

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Despite showing glimpses of raw potential whilst representing PSG among the French top-flight, Jean-Kevin Augustin scarcely enjoyed the opportunity to showcase his natural ability whilst operating in front of the Parc des Princes faithful. With the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani to contend with among the famed PSG front-line, such an outcome hardly arrives as all that much of a surprise.

But that’s not to say that Augustin’s burgeoning reputation isn’t warranted. The 20-year-old striker thrived for France whilst representing his nation at the 2016 U19 European Championship in Germany two summers ago, finishing the competition as an eventual winner as well as the tournament’s leading top goalscorer.

Via his noticeably effective pace, skill and power inside the final third, Augustin is fast carving out a hard-earned reputation as a rather well-rounded frontman. Although he relies upon his distinctly useful physical attributes when tasked with scoring goals – such as his pressing acceleration and impressively athletic build, the young Frenchman has also proven particularly intelligent with his forward play, making smart runs all across the pitch and always hassling defenders in tight situations.

Jean-Kevin Augustin is not scared to run at the opposition when played through in front of goal. He remains a clear goal threat when perched patiently on the edge of the penalty-box, whilst also providing his respective manager with enough dynamism and versatility in the attacking half of the field to make a real nuisance of himself.

PSG’s loss may well prove RB Leipzig’s overwhelming gain within all of this, for in allowing the emerging young Frenchman to depart for as little as €13 million this summer – the Parisian giants have certainly undertaken a massive gamble, one that has more than enough potential to backfire in rather embarrassing circumstances.

Granted, Paris Saint-Germain could easily fork out the cash to reclaim the player should he eventually begin to rival the likes of Neymar and co. upon the grand international stage – but as RB Leipzig themselves have been showing huge promise across the Bundesliga of late, perhaps the task of prizing Jean-Kevin Augustin away from the German top-flight will prove far easier said than done.

The 20-year-old Frenchman has already scored a first-half hat-trick for his new employers, in a recent 7-0 friendly win against SV Dessau. Should Augustin serve to propel himself with even more intensity and vigour throughout the course of the brand new league campaign, then surely it is only a matter of time before this latest French export really begins to thrive with the world at his feet.

The French national squad currently contains some of the most exciting young names in the whole of world football. From the likes of Anthony Martial and the oft forgotten Kingsley Coman, to the dangerously quick-footed Ousmane Dembele and the incredibly potent talent that is Kylian Mbappe – it’s certainly going to prove somewhat difficult for Jean-Kevin Augustin to wholeheartedly establish himself among such highly coveted competition.

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Like most young players trying to establish themselves among the upper echelons of the European game, Augustin remains far from the finished product at this particular stage in his career. Hard work and sacrifice await the young Frenchman if he is to eventually fulfil his potential and truly excel for France upon the international scene.

Yet as the recent €13 million man seemingly represents a rather shrewd fit for RB Leipzig with everything fairly taken into account, the future of French football remains resoundingly bright with players such as Jean-Kevin Augustin fighting to succeed among their already star-studded ranks.

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