Leipzig have another French player to pin their hopes on after persuading El Chadaille Bitshiabu to join them from Paris Saint-Germain.
bundesliga.com fills you in on the giant young centre-back…
Stats correct as of 18 July 2023
Age: 18 (born 16 May 2005)
Club: RB Leipzig
Country: France (U19)
The first thing that stands out about Bitshiabu is his size. Standing at 6'5" – close to two metres tall and possibly still growing – the teenager is certainly an imposing defender. From the suburbs of Paris – Villeneuve-Saint-Georges to be precise – Bitshiabu linked up with Paris Saint-Germain in 2017. He was already towering over his teammates at 6'2" by the age of 12, but his talent was notiecable as well. The youngster signed his first professional contract in July 2021, and made his debut for the French champions in a December 2021 cup match. In doing so he became the youngest player to feature in a competitive game for PSG. Aged only 16 years and 213 days, he broke a club record previously held by current Bayern Munich and France winger Kingsley Coman. Bitshiabu followed up with his Ligue 1 debut in April 2022, and the left-footed centre-back would continue his rapid ascent.
He featured 16 times in all competitions in the 2022/23 season, coming on for a substitute appearance against Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. He has been capped up to and including U19 level by France, and won the European U17 Championship with his country in 2022. He played a big part in that tournament in Israel, and scored the winning penalty in a shootout win over Portugal in the semi-final. After playing 19 times in total for PSG, Bitshiabu signed a five-year contract with Leipzig in July 2023.
Plays a bit like: Mohamed Simakan
Bitshiabu is a centre-back who has moved from France to Leipzig in the hope of furthering his development. Also capable of playing at left-back – and having been tried out in central midfield by PSG at U19 level - the teenager is therefore following a similar path to Simakan. Bitshiabu's new teammate was a bit older and more established when he joined from Strasbourg in 2021, but he provides a good example of what can be achieved by making such a move. Former PSG teammate Nordi Mukiele as well as Bayern Munich's Dayot Upamecano and Liverpool's Ibahima Konate are among other compatriots – and ex-Leipzig defenders – who have shown the way for Bitshiabu. Chelsea's Christopher Nkunku - another French star who moved from PSG to Leipzig - is someone else that the promising acquisition can draw inspiration from. Confident on the ball and often on the lookout for a progressive forward pass, Leipzig's new number five can now try to build on his undoubted potential at a club renowned for improving raw talent.
Did you know?
As well as being the youngest player to feature for PSG in a competitive match, Bitshiabu was the third-youngest to line out in a league match for the 11-time French champions. Only Coman and Nicolas Anelka featured at a younger age. The Leipzig defender is also the second-youngest player this century – behind Coman – to have won Ligue 1.
What they're saying
"His positioning is very good but what's especially interesting about him is the quality of his passing. He's always trying to break the lines every time he’s on the ball." – Former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Mathieu Bodmer – and current sporting director of French side Le Havre – speaking shortly before Bitshiabu's PSG debut
"El Chadaille is extremely quick, strong in the air, a tough tackler and good on the ball too. The fact that he's also left footed means he perfectly fit the kind of player we wanted." – RB Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl
"The club has a great reputation in France, partly because of their on-the-pitch success, but also because young players can undergo an incredible development here at the highest level." – Bitshiabu after signing for Leipzig
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