Who is Arnaud Kalimuendo? The exciting PSG prospect linked with Newcastle United

The PSG and France youth international striker has been linked with NUFC.

All eyes have turned to France once again as Newcastle United have been linked with another promising young Ligue 1 star.

With a prolonged move for Reims forward Hugo Ekitike dominating the deadlines, the Magpies are said to be monitoring PSG youngster Arnaud Kalimuendo.

The France Under-21 striker is yet to make a major impact in the French capital - but has given a major indication of his potential during two loan spells with a Ligue 1 rival.

But what do we know of a player the Magpies are said to have watched on a number of occasions?

Following in the footsteps of several big names

A whole host of European football’s most promising players - and a number of reported United targets - have come through the youth ranks at Paris Saint Germain.

Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, Leicester City midfielder Boubakary Soumare and Lyon striker Moussa Dembele have all been linked with a move to Tyneside in the past 12 months and all three found their feet within the academy of the French giants.

Kalimuendo is another to add to that list and the striker made a name for himself by finding the net with regularity in the UEFA Youth League.

His tally of nine goals in 10 appearances in the competition included a brace in a 3-2 win against Liverpool in November 2018 and a hat-trick in a 6-3 defeat at Spanish giants Real Madrid 12 months later.

A senior debut followed in September 2020 when he started alongside the likes of Marco Verratti and Andre Herrera in a 1-0 Ligue 1 defeat at Lens.

With regular first-team football blocked by the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Kalimuendo a loan move to Lens would follow just a month after that loss at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Finding the net and finding form

Speaking after completing the move, the forward said: “I could’ve stayed in Paris, but I made this choice for playing time.

“I had other options at home and abroad. I chose Lens because I liked their style, the coach was following me, it’s a historic club.”

Kalimuendo came up against another Magpies target on his Lens debut as his temporary employers fell to a 4-0 defeat at Sven Botman’s Lille.

But his third appearance brought a first senior goal as a winning strike in a 1-0 win ay Dijon sparked a run of four goals in six appearances for Frank Haise’s side.

A first season with Lens ended with eight goals in 30 appearances in all competitions as they narrowly missed out on European qualification with a seventh place finish.

Kalimuendo agreed a new contract extension after returning to Paris last summer and the youngster played just six minutes of competitive football before agreeing to a second spell with Lens in late August.

International action and further improvement in Ligue 1

Kalimuendo was a regular part of the France Under-21 setup by the time his second loan at Lens got underway and could count reported United targets Benoit Badiashile and Moussa Diaby as international team-mates.

Four goals in 10 caps represented a promising start to life in the international game and the youngster took that into his domestic form.

By the time Lens hosted Monaco on the final day of last season, Kalimuendo had racked up 12 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions whilst playing in a number of attacking positions for his side.

Lens’ French forward Arnaud Kalimuendo (R) and Bordeaux’s French goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin fight for the ball during the French L1 football match between RC Lens and Bordeaux at the Bollaert-Delelis stadium, in Lens, on February 13, 2022.

Ahead of that season-ending fixture, he reflected on his loan stint with Lens, saying: “I never had any doubts, because I have a lot of ambition and I want to finish very well here. I want to leave a good mark and Europe would be a good thing.

“There’s still Monaco, a very big team, and we’ll have to do the job at home but I think the fans will be there and will push us. It’s amazing to have them behind us!

“When we see them arriving on the way to the match, we feel that they’re behind us. It gives us extra strength and we’re very happy to have supporters like that because it boosts us enormously.”

The positivity was more than matched by Lens manager Franck Haise as he praised the forward and backed up to progress further.

He said: “Arnaud Kalimuendo has now played 30 more games. This allows him to develop in every aspect. The Kali in a year or five years will be another player.

“Every minute, every goal scored or not scored brings him things. He’s progressed well during these two seasons in Lens.”

The future and what could lie ahead

The news Kylian Mbappe has penned a new deal will be something of a blow to Kalimuendo’s hopes of making an impact at PSG.

With a high-profile attacking trio featuring Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi standing in his way, first-team opportunities will be few and far-between.

But his promise was made clear during his time at Lens and that is why the likes of Newcastle, Leicester City and newly-promoted Nottingham Forest have shown an interest in bringing him to the Premier League.

A bright future lies in wait if a verdict delivered by Get Football News France’s Cameron Smith is anything to go by.

In a piece written midway through last season, he wrote: “Kalimuendo is a modern forward, his incisive speed, decision-making, intelligence, and technical ability are all of the highest level.

“2021 has put him in the shop window and PSG will be lucky to keep hold of him come next summer if they can’t offer him a permanent place in their first team. The 19-year-old is good enough to play European football and, with Lens pushing for a Europa League spot this season, he could well fire Franck Haise’s side to a top-six spot, despite the club only being promoted from Ligue 2 in 2020.

“His ceiling is sky high and, in 2022, Arnaud Kalimuendo will only get better.”

Whether than improvement is made on Tyneside remains to be seen.