Gonçalo Ramos or Randal Kolo Muani? In Marseille, the quest for the “grantatakan” represents an old sea serpent. In Paris, it is different. The “grantatakan” is not the center forward, but Kylian Mbappé. Top scorer in the club's history with 228 goals, the captain of the Blues has already scored 16 times in 2023-24, in 16 matches, despite sometimes nebulous use. “Didier Deschamps gives me total freedom on the left lane. With Luis Enrique, it's something else, there are a lot more instructions, and it's also good because it allows you to have a structure. For example in Reims, I started as a left winger, he asked me to stick the line, and in the second half he asked me to be much more inside because we were playing with a false 9, exploiting the spaces in the back and to be a more central player,” he recently indicated during the selection.
In addition to Mbappé, leader of the attack, on the left, Luis Enrique relies on “the most unbalancing player in the world” in the person of Ousmane Dembélé, right. Which Dembélé has just scored his first Parisian goal, Friday, during the card against Monaco (5-2). “It’s a chance to have him,” rejoices the Spanish coach, admitting that he already wanted him when he was at the head of Barça, between 2014 and 2017. “Dembouz” finally joined Barça… after his departure in the summer of 2017. “From the start, I see you very concerned about statistics, goals, assists, but he generates so much for his teammates and the team…”, adds -he. The influence of the former Rennais is indeed great. Less targeted by opposing defenses than “KM”, he enjoys one-on-one on his side, with the help of Achraf Hakimi. The two get along like thieves. The technical relationship between the French and the Moroccan is perfect. The right side, a real strength.
With two such impactful players on the wings, it's difficult to exist in the middle. In any case, it is more complicated for Ramos and Kolo Muani to evolve in their preferred register and to be as sought after as they could respectively be at Benfica and Frankfurt, their previous club. Last season, the 22-year-old Portuguese scored 27 goals and 12 assists, while the 24-year-old Frenchman scored 23 goals and provided 17 assists on his own. Enough to invite Paris-SG to break the bank: €80 million for Ramos, whose purchase option has just been exercised, and €95 for “RKM”.
Two players with extremely different profiles. Ramos is more of a pure-play centre-forward, comfortable in the area, a player who can save and take off, with an exceptional burst of energy and a big contribution to the game without the ball. A good head game too, even if this register is under-exploited, with few centers in Paris. Kolo Muani is more complete, faster, more technically refined. “I saw him very good with Frankfurt because he had a lot of space. His speed allowed him to make a lot of difference. When you have less space and depth, you have to get out of certain situations technically. In his progression and his evolution I’m waiting for him there,” analyzes Patrick Guillou, Germany consultant for beIN SPORTS. Two players so different that they can play very well... side by side, as we saw against OM (4-0). They started together in Newcastle, with the result that we know (4-1 defeat). That evening, Luis Enrique lined up Mbappé, Dembélé, Kolo Muani and Ramos. Not a success.
In the meantime, the two are in competition. A place for two. “Healthy competition,” said Ramos, interviewed on Free Ligue 1 after Monaco. A match in which all four attackers found the net, bringing Ramos' goal total to three in 16 matches, with one assist, compared to four goals in 12 outings, with two assists for his rival. Who will be in the 11 against Newcastle this Tuesday (9 p.m.)? Suspense. So far, Randal Kolo Muani has started all C1 matches, even if his profile seems less complementary compared to Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé. In terms of understanding on and off the field, no worries between the three Blues. Starting against Monaco, Gonçalo Ramos had a full, opportunistic, valuable match without the ball and to free up space.
One thing is certain: neither of them has yet established themselves under the Parisian colors. Two relatively young players, we must not forget that. Digesting such a transfer is not easy. “With Kolo Muani and Ramos, I have two very high level players,” Luis Enrique recently underlined, who has more than one trick up his sleeve. In Reims for example, the Spanish technician used the golden goose Kang-in Lee as a “false 9” during the second half, just to gain ball control against the Reims pressing. “Marco Asensio (who is operational after a long period of unavailability, Editor's note), Bradley Barcola or Kang-In Lee can play in this position. I have a lot of options, it’s great,” he rejoices. It remains to choose the right one against the Magpies this Tuesday. Imperative victory for Paris.