Georges Mikautadze: Georgia’s Redeemed One to Watch at the Euros

Saying it’s been a season of highs and lows for Georges Mikautadze is somewhat of an understatement. After finishing as Ligue 2’s Player of the Season with 23 goals and eight assists in the 2022/23 season, the French-born Georgian international started on a high with a goal involvement in each of his first-ever Ligue 1 games, before then making a €16m deadline-day move to Ajax.


That marked the first low, however, as he joined the Dutch giants at the nadir of one of the worst, and almost definitely most chaotic, starts to a season in the club’s history. Six months, nine league appearances, and zero goals on, and he was back on loan at a Metz side battling for survival. Fast forward a few months, the had high returned.



He’d seemed to refind the form he’d lost in The Netherlands, whilst he’d just taken part in Georgia’s historic penalty shoot-out victory over Greece to book their ticket to Germany for the 2024 European Championship. Come the beginning of May though, and, despite ending the season with 13 goals and four assists in just 20 Ligue 1 appearances, Metz were relegated, and Mikautadze was brought back down to earth again.


That brings us to now, where Mikautadze has the opportunity to not only restore his high, but potentially put himself on the radar of some of Europe’s biggest clubs ahead of the summer transfer window, as he looks to play a prominent part in his nation’s first ever major international tournament. 


Consequently, on pure narrative alone, there’s adequate reason why Mikautadze must be one to watch over the summer,  and that’s without even mentioning the promising 23-year-old’s eye-catching ability and skillset. With that being said, here’s some more analysis on Mikautadze’s profile, how he’s redeemed himself this season and, crucially, why you should want to watch him. 


Whilst his time at Ajax may be an initial red flag, in fairness to Mikautadze, he never really stood a chance in Amsterdam.  The Georgian was brought as part of a mass squad overhaul by Ajax’s new technical director Sven Mislintat. But, after a series of confrontations with staff, investigations into his alleged personal interest in certain transfers, on top of the team’s poor results, Mislintat was fired in September, just four months into his contract.  



A month later, the former Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund scout was followed by his choice of manager Maurice Steijn, who was sacked with one win in seven league games. Nevertheless, Mikautadze had only played 165 minutes across four games under Steijn, so this presented a perfect second chance at the Johan Cruyff Arena. It wasn’t to be though, he featured in just over half the minutes in the same amount of games under new boss John van‘t  Schip. 


Subsequently, Mikautadze was sent back out on loan to his former side less than a week into the January transfer window, with Metz hoping he’d be a lifeline as they hovered around the relegation zone. Clearly still struggling with confidence, it took a while for Mikautadze to re-find his best form back in France, scoring three and assisting two in his first 9 Ligue 1 games.


His importance to Metz was already showing though, with three of those contributions being to Metz’s only goals in their two victories during that spell. It was the final seven games of the campaign where Mikaudatze would really kick into gear – as he scored eight and provided one assist as Metz won twice and lost the rest. 


Again though, all goals in both wins (2-1 against Lens and 1-0 away at Le Havre) were scored by the forward. Moreover, Les Grenats only scored two other goals across those seven games, as they finished the season narrowly above Lorient to go into a relegation play-off against Ligue 2’s third-place side Saint-Etienne. 



Essentially then, Mikautadze’s goals had secured Metz a second chance at survival, providing them with the same opportunity for redemption they gave him in January. However, unlike their top scorer, Metz were unable to take advantage, agonisingly losing out 4-3 on aggregate to an 117th-minute Les Verts winner – leaving the bitter feeling that, if it had not been for Mikautatdze’s torrid six months at Ajax, his side may be looking at a second consecutive season in France’s top flight. 


As such, Mikautadze’s time at Metz may now be at its definitive end. After choosing to trigger their €13m option-to-buy from Ajax, Metz are now reportedly looking to sell their number 10. And, with Georgia having a tough but favourable group in the Euro’s, Mikautadze has a significant opportunity to prove himself to potential buyers – who will undoubtedly be watching not just to see if he can replicate his output, but his all-round performances on Europe’s biggest stage.


The striker doing this is feasible too, with Georgia and Metz both portraying an underdog nature that sees them control little of the ball (both sides have lowest average possession in comparison to their respective competitors). This suits Mikautadze, who, aside from his goalscoring, is hugely influential in Metz’s general attacking play. – especially in transition and counter-attacking situations.


He’s capable of picking out a wide range of passes with either foot, ranking high, he ranks high amongst forwards in Europe’s top five leagues (ETFL) for progressive, long, and medium passes, as per Opta data via FBRef. For instance, he spreads play wide to onrushing wingers, slips through passes to midfield runners beyond him, and is also occasionally trusted with taking set pieces and whipping balls into the box.



Though, it is his ball-carrying and dribbling that really stands out, with his  2.14 successful dribbles and 2.7 progressive carries putting him in the 96th and 89th percentile respectively (vs ETFL forwards). Much like his passing, this is most evident in transition. 


At 5’9”, the forward has a short, compact, robust frame and a low centre of gravity that he uses well to spin defenders on the halfway line and intelligently keep his body between ball and man as he drives towards goal. Meanwhile, he’s great when facing his man too. He has sharp feet and clever thinking when rapidly closed down, enabling him to quickly evade defenders with a cheeky nutmeg or by utilizing a ‘croqueta’ – swiftly shifting the ball from one foot to another in a forward motion.


Despite playing almost exclusively as a sole central striker, you’ll see him do this all over the field. Whether it be after receiving in small pockets in the right-half space, during the process of dribbling inside from the left touchline, or even to round a defender (or goalkeeper) to create a shooting opportunity in-and-around the box.  


Highlighting the latter point especially: A Mikautadze take-on was one of the two preceding actions directly leading to a goal on four occasions this season, the best in Ligue 1 on a per 90 basis and a total figure only level to Kylian Mbappé and only topped by Lille’s Edon Zhergrova. This serves as an example of Mikautadze’s exceptional composure under pressure, something that unsurprisingly extends to his finishing.



He thrives up against the goalkeeper, either from penalties (he’s scored nine out of nine in the past two league campaigns) or in long, drawn-out 1v1’s, where he’s constantly looking up to judge a goalkeeper’s positioning to decide which type of shot to take. His shot selection is rarely ever wrong, whether he’s opening up his body to slot home with his insole, opting for power over precision by rifling the ball in with his laces, or even faking to do so before delicately dinking a wrong-footed ‘keeper.


The Georgian striker is not averse to shooting from tighter angles either, often utilising the technique of arcing his shoulders over the ball before striking through it with venom – allowing him to emphatically beat the keepers before they can even react. Most impressively, whilst he does slightly favour his right side,  he’s equally capable at taking any of these efforts with either foot.


All of the above mentioned traits – the quick feet, two-footedness, composure, and wide selection of finishes – are encapsulated in Mikautadze’s brace against Lens. His first saw him bring down a loose ball in the middle of a crowded area, and take a few close-to-feet touches to gain separation from defenders, before emphatically striking into the top left corner with his left foot.


The next was almost the polar opposite, as he intercepted a wayward back pass from the opponent, squared up the out-of-position goalkeeper Brice Samba, and expertly chipped the ball over him into an open net. Finally, whether it’s his goal/scoring proficiency, ability to create something out of nothing, or his influence in both wide and central areas in transition, the best thing about Mikautadze’s skillset is that it’s transferable to different positions across the frontline.



He isn’t tied down to just being a sole No.9, as he showed by occasionally playing on the left wing in Ligue 2, and for the Georgian national team, where he’s frequently featured on either side of a front two – striking up an exciting partnership with Napoli star man Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.


All in all then, it’s clear to see why Mikautadze has been so valuable to Metz, how he could be to whichever club he plays for in the future, and most importantly, why you should keep an eye out for him in over the Euros this summer. 


By: Travis Levison / @TravisLevison67

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Virginie Lefour / AFP