It is not as if Bayern Munich are short of cash with the club prepared to spend €100 million on Leroy Sané last summer. The Bavarians however are extremely skilled in mining for younger talent, purchasing them on the cheap or for nothing at all, and turning them into world beaters.
This season has seen 19-year-old Alphonso Davies burst onto the scene following his €10 million acquisition from Vancouver Whitecaps in January 2019. His valuation is now a reported €45 million, but more importantly his value to the team has soared even higher. Davies is just the latest in a long line of young signings turned into megastars by Bayern (Joshua Kimmich for example) and it looks very much like the club’s prospectors have struck gold once more in the shape of Paris St Germain’s Tanguy Nianzou Kouassi.
Having turned down a contract offer from the mega-rich Parisian giants; Bayern have snapped up the highly sought-after youngster on a free transfer with a contract until 2024.
PSG have made a habit in recent seasons of losing their best young players and the 18-year-old Frenchman is the latest to seek more game time/ experience away from the French capital. The Bundesliga has already attracted the likes of Moussa Diaby, Christopher Nkunku and Dan-Axel Zagadou, but Kouassi might turn out to be the best of all.
“We’re very happy that we’ve been able to bring Tanguy Nianzou Kouassi to FC Bayern” sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said after announcing the signing. “In our opinion he’s one of the biggest talents in Europe. His best position is central defender, but he can fill several positions. We’re sure he’ll have a great career in Munich and will strengthen our team.”
The player himself added: “I’m very happy to be able to play for FC Bayern. It’s a big club, rich in tradition. I really hope I’ll be able to establish myself here and play a lot of matches. For that I’ll work hard.”
The central defender is also adept at playing in central midfield and can also do a job at right back. Kouassi made his professional debut for PSG on December 7th 2019 in a league match with Montpellier. He was a key player for France at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup where Les Bleus won the bronze medal.
He has captained most of the youth sides at PSG and excelled in the Uefa Youth League under coach Thiago Motta last year. This season in Ligue 1 he has made 4 starts and made another two substitute appearances. He’s scored twice in his limited time (two headers in the 4-4 draw at Amiens). He made his Champions League debut in December against Galatasaray and made a brief appearance in PSG’s 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.
At 6ft 2 inches Kouassi has the physical stature of a ‘typical’ centre back-he’s aerially strong and is dominant in the air in both penalty areas. His ground game though is equally impressive with his reading of the game at such a high level that he doesn’t necessarily have to rely on his physical strength. His passing and vision mean that he is equally happy to play in central midfield. He has been compared to both Laurent Blanc and Marcel Desailly in style.
As a very young boy Kouassi played for US Sénart-Moissy- the same club where Kingsley Coman used to play. PSG were loathed to lose the player with coach Thomas Tüchel admitting he was sad to see Kouassi depart.
“At 17 and without a professional contract, Tanguy played in our most important game against Borussia Dortmund,” Tüchel told reporters. “We trusted him. He could play as a centre back and defensive midfielder. Without doubt he had a big future here. For me he shouldn’t have left now. I don’t understand the reasoning and I’m sad.”
PSG’s loss will ultimately be Bayern’s gain as the Bavarians have once again potentially struck gold.