Warren Zaire-Emery, the reasons for a less good move

A crack player, the darling of the Park, a generational talent, the future of world football… The start of the 2023-2024 season by Warren Zaire-Emery in the Paris Saint-Germain jersey has given way to a farandole of praise. Unsinkable under pressure and defying all precocity records, the young Parisian midfielder (18 years old) quickly established himself as a pillar of the collective led by Luis Enrique. “He was above my expectations, well above, I’m not going to talk about his physical, technical or personal quality, I’ve already done that a lot but I’m going to talk about his ability to play in relation to the others. He is very intelligent to compensate for the movement of his teammates, I have never seen that and it is very rare to see that. He’s an essential player for us.”affirmed the Spanish technician last February.

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A season with two faces…

Scorer, passer and omnipresent in the midfield, the native of Montreuil – also used as a right back, sentry, or even sometimes as a right midfielder – has, moreover, revealed himself to the eyes of the whole world by wearing his during the group stage of the Champions League, notably against AC Milan at Parc (3-0) or Dortmund, to ensure qualification for the round of 16 (1-1). On cloud nine, the Parisian Titi continued to deliver high-level performances, proving weekend after weekend the extent of his talent. Valuable in his ability to keep the ball, confusing in the face of opposing pressure and appreciated for his sharp runs, the one who recently extended his contract until June 2029 in the French capital also distinguished himself by a real contribution in front of the opposing goal (3 goals and 7 assists in 41 matches in all competitions).

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Yes, but after being familiar with the stars, PSG number 33 has since experienced a clear slowdown in his performances. Much less impactful, WZE multiplies, as such, neutral copies, or even any ones. “It’s true that since January, these haven’t been my best matches. Now I give my all in every match. When I see the supporters, the club we have, our players who tell me that I cannot give up and that I will come back stronger. I know that I am a young player, I have the future ahead of me and I will do everything to be the best possible”, the person concerned lucidly conceded a few minutes after the terrible disillusionment against Borussia Dortmund where he also lacked success against the Marsupials’ goal. In the tough with only one small offering during the draw conceded against the HAC on the occasion of the 31st day of Ligue 1 and no goal scored in 2024, the 1m78 right-hander thus seems a victim of his success and an absence of alternative solution.

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A true revelation at the start of the season and rewarded with a first selection for the French team on November 18, WZE, scorer during this meeting, first saw his trajectory stopped by a nasty injury against the same Gibraltar team. Severely injured in the ankle after a strong tackle, the French international (2 caps) nevertheless, once again, showed that he was different. Came back much faster than expected – too fast? – the Franco-Martinique celebrated his return with a very precious goal at Signal Iduna Park. An achievement that almost qualified his team for the knockout stages of the Champions League. However, the Ile-de-France prodigy logically ended up marking time, like Pedri who took part in 68 matches in 2020-2021 before sticking his tongue out when it came time to compete in the Olympic Games. Tired, slowed down by this injury but still considered an essential part of Luis Enrique’s eleven, Zaire-Emery ultimately suffered from the lack of alternatives.

Warren Zaire-Emery was on all fronts…

From Fabian Ruiz, criticized for his slowness and his inability to penetrate opposing defenses, to Manuel Ugarte, relegated to the substitutes’ bench after an exceptional start to the season, via Kang-In Lee and Marco Asensio, considered too irregular, or again Carlos Soler, totally irrelevant during his rare appearances, the young Parisian nugget remained, in fact, one of the only certainties of Luis Enrique, alongside Vitinha, also very efficient. His status as a substitute against FC Barcelona in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League did not fail to surprise the various observers. However, the excessive use of WZE and its overexposure constitute, at the time of writing, two factors possibly explaining its decline in pace. In the absence of real competition, he had to play one match after another, while coping with the growing expectations around him. A heavy, too heavy, responsibility for such a young profile…

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Often praised for his maturity, Zaire-Emery will therefore have to find the right balance so as not to explode in mid-flight. “You don’t realize how much he had to manage ten thousand things at the same time this season”, had also confided an employee of the PSG training center about the Habs, who also passed the baccalaureate and his driving license in recent months. With his 41 matches played in the Ile-de-France jersey this season, not counting his two selections for the France A team and his three matches with the Espoirs, the promising Parisian midfielder – who can still play 3 L1 matches and a Coupe de France final by the end of the current financial year – probably pulling on the rope too much. Enough to call for distrust before a summer which promises to be very busy, where the main concerned could go on to Euro and Olympic Games, again at the risk of starting the next season on the knees. Yes, Warren Zaire-Emery is a rough diamond but like any diamond, it must be perfectly polished to get all its shine. It’s up to PSG, now, to preserve it.

Pub. THE 05/12/2024 1:39 p.m.
Update 05/12/2024 3:00 p.m.



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