RR: Edouard Michut, then... is he any good?
PSG Talk: Edouard Michut is a player with loads of potential. In fact, it’s usually a safe bet to sign any of PSG’s youngsters because of how rich the talent pool is in Paris. Go around Europe and you’ll find plenty of former PSG academy players excelling. There’s Christopher Nkunku, Moussa Diaby, Mike Maignan, and Kingsley Coman to name a few. Michut has all the tools to be just as good as those players, but he needs playing time and that’s something he’s seriously been lacking at Paris Saint-Germain.
RR: We’ve read a little about his apparent falling out with the club over the summer. What’s gone on there then?
PSG Talk: Yeah, so what happened there is PSG’s new manager, Christophe Galtier, didn’t name Michut to his pre-season squad and he was sent to train with the youth squad separately. For a player of his talent who is itching to show he has what it takes to play at the highest level, this decision didn’t sit well. There was a meeting schedule with Luis Campos, PSG’s new sporting director, and Michut didn’t show up. It was rescheduled and Michut was apparently handed a warning for his actions.
RR: Just how highly thought of has this lad been?
PSG Talk: I would say Michut is a player most dialed in PSG fans know. Last season, after PSG were knocked out of the Champions League and Ligue 1 was essentially wrapped up, fans would take to social media pleading with former manager, Mauricio Pochettino, to play Michut so we can finally see what he can do in the French top flight. Unfortunately, he only made 7 appearances last season in all competitions. Along with Sunderland, I believe Celtic were another club giving Michut a look and Fabrizio Romano tweeted that many clubs have been interested in him since June, so his talent level is known across Europe.
RR: Is it unusual for PSG to promote youngsters through to the team? How did he fare?
PSG Talk: It is rare for a PSG academy player to move up the ranks and feature regularly with the first team. Right now, Presnel Kimpembe is the only academy player who is a starter. It’s just not PSG’s sporting model. They have the money to fund a squad with Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Marco Verratti, Marquinhos, etc., so for youngsters to break through that wall of superstars, the player either has to be special or play a position where PSG hasn’t splashed the cash. That being said, the fact that Michut has played for PSG’s first team a handful of times should tell you something about his quality. When he has played, he’s impressed. His shining moment came last season away at Olympique Lyonnais where he recorded an assist to Layvin Kurzawa in a match that ended 1-1. On the flip side, he did receive a straight red for a clumsy two-footed tackle.
RR: Physically he looks very small. Does his size hinder him at all?
PSG Talk: You could say the same thing about Lionel Messi and Marco Verratti, two exceptional PSG players who are vertically challenged. N’Golo Kante is another example. I don’t think his height will impact him, but he still has a boyish build and I think he could probably add more muscle in order to compete in a physical league like the Championship. That’s the only way I could see his size hindering him.
RR: What type of midfielder is he?
PSG Talk: He’s definitely a creative midfielder who likes to get forward and set up his teammates. His first-touch is really something special. If that’s the type of midfielders Sunderland needs, I think you’ll be very happy with him. Michut isn’t going to be a box-to-box player who will put in a tackle to win the ball and then launch an attack. He’s a finese player who will dazzle with his dribbling ability, but I wouldn’t expect him to bang in too many goals himself or be a reliable defender.
RR: The English Championship is a notoriously unforgiving league. How do you see him faring over here?
PSG Talk: I’ve heard that! You would probably enjoy Ligue 1, which is extremely physical and defense-oriented. I wish Michut was able to get more playing time in Ligue 1 because that would have better prepared him for life in the Championship, but such is life. I think the trainers at Sunderland will definitely want to get him on a weight program so he can bulk up some. That will help him keep possession and not get pushed off the ball as easily. What Michut has going for him is he’s quick and able to think incredibly fast. I can also see a world where he absolutely embarrasses Championship defenders with a series of flicks and give-and-goes that leaves them in the dust.
RR: What is your understanding of the deal that has been made between the two clubs, and why do you think PSG were so keen to ensure a buyback clause was inserted - is this common practice or is it just because he’s so highly thought of?
PSG Talk: From what I read, PSG are looking to loan Michut to Sunderland and include a buy clause of around €5 million. There was also a clause included where PSG would get some percentage of the sale if Sunderland sold him at some point.
I think the buyback clause is due to Luis Campos, PSG’s new sporting director. He has an unbelievable eye for talent and he clearly doesn’t want to just let Michut walk without protecting PSG’s interest. I would say that if Campos/PSG are dragging their feet with getting this deal done, that tells you everything you need to know about how highly they think of him.
RR: What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses?
PSG Talk: I sort of covered this in what type of midfielder he is, but I would say his biggest strength is maintaining possession and creating for his teammates on the offensive end of the pitch. His biggest weakness is going to be on the defensive end. You don’t really want to see him putting a tackle in.
RR: What would you say to anyone who isn’t sure about this signing?
PSG Talk: This is really a very low risk, high reward deal for Sunderland. I’m sure PSG will be paying the majority of Michut’s wages and Sunderland gets to run the kid out and see if the hype is real. If it is, then for €5 million or so you get a creative midfielder you can build around for the future. If he gets completely battered and embarrassed, you send him back to Paris and it didn’t really cost you anything. Several clubs have made a living off of signing PSG’s academy players and developing them into world-class players. Maybe this is the start of a PSG/Sunderland relationship in that sense.