Despite only being 18 years old, Paris Saint-Germain’s Hervin Ongenda is already being touted as a superstar of the future.
As his well-taken goal in the French champions’ 2-0 friendly victory over Hammarby in Stockholm showed, he is a precocious talent.
His 54th-minute strike, his side’s second goal of the evening and the teenager’s second to-date this preseason, came at the perfect time for PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
Current third-choice striker Kevin Gameiro, regularly selected behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and one of Ezequiel Lavezzi or Jeremy Menez last year, is on the verge of sealing a move to Spanish side Sevilla (h/t ESPN FC).
That leaves the side from the capital one striker short of having the required squad depth ahead of the new season.
With such an ambitious transfer campaign currently underway; it is difficult to imagine PSG settling for anything less than another big name.
However, the logistics of bringing in another star striker to rival Ibrahimovic and new boy Edinson Cavani do not add up and would risk making one or both unhappy.
Instead, PSG are looking for one of two things: someone young and talented, but inexperienced, or someone old, efficient and experienced. Either way, it will be a player who will not expect to be on similar footing to Ibra and Cavani.
Gameiro was arguably the perfect player to have in that role, even if he is capable of far, far better than that.
Fast, determined and clinical, with experience internationally and in Ligue 1, the 26-year-old was the perfect super-sub and impact player, as well as a useful alternate starter at times.
However, at this stage of his career, the French international was always going to want to secure first-team football that he could only find by leaving the Parc des Princes.
Although PSG will undoubtedly scour the transfer market looking for a reputable replacement, there is already a ready-made one sitting right under their noses.
The beauty of the situation for PSG is that they do not have to risk making anybody unhappy by persevering with the Franco-Congolese.
In fact, the capital club will be applauded for recognising such a prodigious talent sat on their own doorstep, something not as simple as it sounds when it comes to PSG in the past.
A French international at youth level, Ongenda is an obvious talent despite his lack of age.
There can be little doubt that, should he enjoy a similar level of playing time to that which Gameiro received last season, he would be content for a debut season at senior level.
It would represent remarkable progress for Ongenda too, having jumped from the club’s rich youth academy sides to the senior side in almost no time.
Should he be allowed to flourish at this time, the possibilities with his talent are endless.
There is verve and a swagger about him, despite his relative inexperience in the senior set-up, which illustrates a player primed for the big-time.
His biggest obstacle, however, is likely to be his current club’s preference to buy another star name instead of sinking too much time into Ongenda.
With PSG so carried away with signing the likes of Edinson Cavani, Lucas Digne and Marquinhos, the odds of them eventually overlooking such homegrown brilliance, as they have done regularly since Qatar Sports Investments arrived, are high.
But this is one talent who can fulfil a task and deliver right now instead of having to wait to mature.
Should he be given the chance to shine, Hervin Ongenda could be one of PSG’s most legendary home-developed talents.
On this preseason’s evidence so far, the 18-year-old is ready to deliver.
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