Manager Christophe Galtier has offered a glowing verdict on Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) centre-back El Chadaille Bitshiabu.
The 17-year-old is yet to feature in a game this season but has made the bench in eight games across competitions. The 1.96-meter tall defender played in three matches for Les Parisiens in all competitions last season – which remains his only three senior appearances to date.
Bitshiabu featured in The Guardian’s annual list of the most promising footballers in world football under the age of 18. His potential is there for all to see, and Galtier has claimed that Bitshiabu is knocking on the door for first-team minutes this campaign.
Speaking ahead of their Ligue 1 clash against AC Ajaccio on Saturday (October 21), the French manager said (h/t RMC Sport):
“Bitshiabu has incredible potential. He trains with us. He came back to the group very late. He suffered a major muscle injury. can’t play much in his category. We’re pinning a lot of hope on him. He knocks on the door, he’s ready.”
Galtier recently shifted to a back-four from a back-three in his defense when PSG beat Olympique de Marseille 1-0 on October 16. He claims that Bitshiabu would have had a chance to play with the senior side if he was playing with three centre-backs. Galtier continued:
“If there was a thought to continue playing as a three, he would have had the opportunity to express himself. But it’s not because we fell to four behind that he won’t have opportunities. He is very diligent, but there is such an obligation of results that all matches are difficult.”
PSG’s El Chadaille Bitshiabu was a man in demand this summer
According to the aforementioned Guardian report, Bitshiabu attracted attention from Arsenal, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City this summer.
The Ligue 1 giants expectedly turned down their attempts to sign one of their brightest youth prospects. His contract expires in the summer of 2024.
However, Galtier’s words hint at a bright future for the Frenchman and the youngster will want to follow the example set by his compatriot Presnel Kimpembe.
The latter, like Birshiabu, came through PSG’s youth ranks and is currently an irreplaceable part of Galtier’s first-team squad. He has been restricted to just eight appearances across competitions due to a hamstring injury.
PSG currently trust Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos to man the backline in his absence. Danilo Pereira has played as a centre-back this season but the Portugal international picked up an injury in the win against OM.