at only 16 years old, Zaire-Emery already impresses everyone


Warren Zaire-Emery was particularly noticed during the PSG preparation tour in Japan. The 16-year-old midfielder, considered the best hope of the Parisian training center, dazzled the audience with his maturity, his technical quality and his serenity on the pitch. Christophe Galtier is full of praise for the gifted Montreuil, who recently signed his first professional contract.

His face beaded with sweat, he goes from one half-court to another with his red chasuble. Under the watchful eye of Christophe Galtier and his assistants, Warren Zaire-Emery takes part alternately in the two mini-opposes organized on the lawn of the Rugby Stadium Chichibunomiya. In a joker role. This Monday, July 18, more than 13,000 euphoric spectators took their places in the stands of the Aoyama district, in the heart of Tokyo. The opportunity for them to applaud the PSG stars who came to perform their preparatory tour in Japan. And to discover this young midfielder, who walks around during training open to the public.

In the humid heat of the Asian summer, Zaire-Emery impresses everyone. Japanese fans point it out. The journalists watch him speechless. From the height of his 16 years, the native of Montreuil unrolls his football with a rather staggering ease in the midfield. Alongside Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé or Sergio Ramos, he stands out for his technical accuracy, his serenity, his vista, his endurance and the intensity he puts into his interventions. Watching him evolve at such a level, it’s hard to imagine that he will only be of age in two years.

“The greatest talent of the training center”

Behind the scenes, his session is also commented on with words of praise. But no one really falls from the clouds. For several years, Warren Zaire-Emery (already appeared during the first summer test against Quevilly-Rouen Métropole) has been considered a real phenomenon at Camp des Loges.

“For me, he is the greatest talent in the PSG training center at the moment, explained our consultant Mathieu Bodmer in the spring. He does not have many faults. He plays with maturity and personality. At his age, there are few players who can do it.”

The Martinican-born diamond recently signed his first professional contract with PSG (July 15). Until 2025. A relief for the capital club, which had made it one of its priority issues. It must be said that Zaire-Emery was courted by all the greatest in Europe. After taking the time to reflect, he chose to get involved with his favorite club, to which he is very attached. In the process, Christophe Galtier summoned him for the Japanese tour. And his investment was rewarded with two appearances in friendlies against local clubs.

Galtier amazed by his “maturity”

The little gifted first entered half an hour from the end against the Kawasaki Frontale (2-1). Before being established against the Urawa Red Diamonds alongside Marco Verratti (3-0). The time to confirm its enormous potential and to ignite the Parisian supporters on the networks. Always on the move, precise in his transmissions, Zaire-Emery blended into the background with a disarming naturalness. Without ever giving the impression of panicking. With his already very developed size (1.78m), he looks like an experienced player on the field. However, he was born a year after Leo Messi’s professional debut at Barça…

“Warren is surprisingly mature and clear-sighted, summarized Galtier after the success against the Urawa Reds. He has the enormous privilege of being in contact with all these great players.” Great players who, too, are under the spell of the kid from Seine-Saint-Denis. “He has a lot of qualities, confides Nuno Mendes to RMC Sport. I had already seen some of his matches with young people. He is very diligent. I think he has what it takes to continue with the first team. , he must give everything because he is the youngest in the locker room.”

Incubated by his father, a former Red Star player

A status that Warren knows well. Since his debut in crampons, he has always evolved with people older than him, so as not to slow down his progress and sometimes prevent his partners from slacking off by counting on his extraordinary talent. It was first at FCM Aubervilliers (north of Paris) that he signed his first license at 4 and a half years old. Under the protective eye of his father Franck, a former Red Star player, then coach at the club based in 93. And he immediately dazzled the audience.

“During a senior tournament in Trappes (Yvelines), I brought Warren with me, says his father in the “Scouting” podcast produced by RMC Sport. He was playing with his ball on the side. At one point, I do a hard 30m pass and he pulls a drop shot off our chest like he’s been working on it every day. We looked at each other and my cousin and we were like, ‘That’s not bad all that’.”

Warren Zaire-Emery
Warren Zaire-Emery © Icon

“He impressed all the PSG educators”

A few years later, Warren joined the U8 section of PSG. And there again, it is quickly noticed. “When you have players with high potential, they don’t know how to use their intrinsic qualities all the time and don’t make the right choices. They don’t have this maturity, testifies trainer Abdou Fall, who had Zaire -Emery in U11 at Camp des Loges. He had incredible game reading and analysis for his age. He played very fair all the time. It impressed all the educators at the club.”

Doubly outclassed each year, Warren is described as a young man with an irreproachable state of mind (who rarely challenges refereeing decisions), a little reserved but still a lodger. Football fan, he plays as soon as possible with his friends, in addition to his training. But on the other hand, he watches few meetings on television. Last season, he joined the U19 group coached by Zoumana Camara, with whom he played in the Youth League (defeat in the quarter-finals against Leipzig). By starting almost every game and scoring a goal against Bruges (during his only entry into play).

Spring European U17 Champion

Mauricio Pochettino and his staff also invited him to certain training sessions with the pros. Under contract with Polaris Sport, he is represented by the structure of Jorge Mendes. The famous Portuguese agent, who notably manages the interests of Cristiano Ronaldo, has also traveled in person (while he often sends intermediaries) to convince the Zaire-Emery family to join him.

Last June, Warren won Euro U17 in Israel with the France team. Alongside his club partner El Chadaille Bitshiabu (one year his senior) and Mathys Tel, who has just been transferred from Stade Rennais to Bayern Munich (for nearly 30 million euros). A first major title that calls for others. After his promising summer, the 16-year-old midfielder is now waiting to see if Galtier will give him his big professional debut this season.

Started as a pro this season?

With the 2022 World Cup scheduled for the end of the year in Qatar (from November 21 to December 18), the window could open in the near future, when it will be necessary to breathe the internationals. It will also undoubtedly depend on the end of the transfer window and any reinforcements that could arrive in his sector. “I want to integrate our best young people with us, it is also the will of the sports management and the presidency, so that they can flourish within their training club”, recently explained Galtier.

It remains to be seen whether Zaire-Emery will be in the group on Sunday to face Nantes in the Champions Trophy in Tel Aviv (8 p.m.). It is a possibility, even if he did not participate in the last match of the tour in Japan against Gamba Osaka (6-2). Unless there is a major problem, his time will come anyway, sooner or later. He is convinced of it. Like everyone who saw him with a ball between his feet.

Alexandre Jaquin (with Arthur Perrot)

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