On February 1st, Warren Zaïre-Emery scored his first senior goal coming off the bench against Montpellier in a 3-1 win. In doing so, he became the youngest ever goal scorer for PSG at just 16 years and 330 days old.
Everyone loves the romance of a good youth prospect story, and on Valentines Day, Zaïre-Emery made history again. Aged just 16 years and 345 days, he became the youngest ever player to start a Champions League knockout game against Bayern Munich.
The young midfielder is clearly a talent for the future, and is already trusted by PSG boss Christophe Galtier, but who is he, and what does he offer?
A Parisian from Day 1
Warren Zaïre-Emery was born in March of 2006 in Montreuil, a suburb 6.6km from the centre of Paris. Warren’s father was also a footballer, and he played for Red Star in Seine-Saint-Denis, meaning football was a pillar of Warren’s upbringing.
Warren Zaïre-Emery was signed by PSG at only 8 years old, after 4 years with Aubervilliers.
Impressing at every level of the academy, Zaïre-Emery was frequently playing above his age group and never looked out of place doing so. At only 15 he was one of the standouts at under-19 level, contributing to their UEFA Youth League run.
2022 saw Zaïre-Emery’s star grow in a whirlwind of a year. Former coach Mauricio Pochettino called him up to the first team at only 15 years old, and in July he signed his first professional contract with the club. In August he made his senior debut in a 5-0 league win against Clermont and he has continued to impress ever since.
He has represented France from under 16 to under 19 levels, and will be hoping to catch the eye of Didier Deschamps – and he is on the best stage to do so.
Style of Play
Standing at 5-foot-10 and likely to grow a little taller than that, Zaire-Emery excels in a central midfield role. He is physically gifted, fast and surprisingly strong for his age as well as displaying an unbelievable confidence on the ball that shows great maturity in his teenage years.
In just 14 appearances for the first team, Zaïre-Emery has seen a return of 2 goals and 2 assists, displaying an ability to contribute to the attack in multiple ways from midfield, especially considering he has only started in four of these games.
It is a small sample to work from, but a combined xG and xA of 0.49 per 90 is an impressive number nonetheless. He has also only played 446 minutes of football, so comparing him to his peers may be a little premature at the senior level.
Alas, Zaïre-Emery possesses a physical profile and a remarkable ability to break up and launch play, which is displayed on the pitch as he frequently impresses for les Parisiens. The young Parisian reminds me of a certain English talent who broke through at a young age with great maturity and ability, playing in Dortmund currently – Jude Bellingham.
The future of football is in great hands and Warren Zaïre-Emery is the latest addition to the next generation of superstar midfielders.
Who is this kid you took in your stable? It’s an alien.Zaïre-Emery’s PSG teammate Vitinha, speaking to their shared agent – Jorge Mendes