43. Yann Karamoh
It seems like every up-and-coming young star is compared to someone before them these days. Every young Portuguese winger is the next Cristiano Ronaldo, and anyone who can dribble well is dubbed the next Lionel Messi. Even others are compared to Kaká, or Roberto Carlos, and these comparisons can be for better or worse, but in almost every case, it never truly fits the bill. To already have the next, “Ousmane Dembélé,” can sound far-fetched, especially when Ousmane himself is so young in the first place, but the comparison may have validity in this case. Yann Karamoh is another incredibly talent French right winger with a ceiling as high as Proxima Centauri.
While Ousmane Dembélé continued to make a name for himself at Borussia Dortmund, Yann Karamoh was lighting up Ligue 1 for SC Caen. In an arc very similar to Ousmane’s, Karamoh made his debut with Caen’s first team back in August of this past season and immediately became a part of the senior squad. Like so many other talented players in the French set-up right now, Karamoh was born in Cote d’Ivoire, and grew up in a Paris suburb. The poorer outskirts of the French capital are where the talent mainly comes from. Street football is king in these areas, with a lot of kids gathering their technique from weaving past pedestrians, and having to worry about a passing car. Underneath highway bridges in Paris are where Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane learned to create art with the ball at their feet, while also harboring the intensity needed to succeed at the highest level. In street football you learn more than just technique, you learn how to think and act.
You can’t teach competitiveness on a training ground, it must be instilled in you. Karamoh was picked up by SC Caen when he was just 13, and was integrated into their youth system. Located just outside of Normandy, Karamoh quickly became the talk of Northern France. Starting at the U16 level, Karamoh has represented France at every national youth team set up, all the way to the U21’s. With the seemingly infinite talent resources that France has, that makes this all the more impressive. He has also scored for every youth level he has been at for France, scoring seven goals in the 21 games he has played for the French national youth teams. Breaking into the senior squad is something that is possible, and definitely will happen at some point. The boy is incredibly talented, and has all the skills to play for Les Blues, but the talent level at the senior squad is at an all time high for France. The timetable might be unknown, but expect to see him lining up with the rest of the French stars at some point in the near future.
Over the course of the last season, Yann Karamoh began attracting attention for his vast skill set, and his mesmerizing ability on the ball enchanted the Caen faithful. If you are a winger in football nowadays, you need to be able to dribble well. Karamoh is a raw gem–his skills on the ball are definitely his best attribute, and he has the ability to succeed in other areas as well, but his decision making in the final third is questionable at the moment. Finding the final ball, knowing when to shoot, and knowing when to pass–these are things he must improve on if he wants a chance at cracking Luciano Spalletti’s line-up.
Surely this is something that will be fixed over time, and Luciano Spalletti will be looking to nurture him in the best way possible. What Karamoh may lack in decision making right now, he makes up for in sheer talent. The term “artist” is used in an almost-clichéd way in the beautiful game, but it’s hard not to be mesmerized by what Karamoh creates. His one-on-one ability seems to rapidly improve with every game, and he often makes seasoned defenders look like fools. Scoring 5 goals and adding 4 assists is a good output for an 18 year old in a senior squad and should lead to more in the future. He creates opportunities in the final third that other players and whole teams crave to find. It’s easy to see just how successful he can be in the future if he maintains his rapid rise.
After a scintillating season, Karamoh experienced a summer of seduction. Teams from all corners of Europe fought for his signature, ranging from Southampton, to Newcastle, to Arsenal, but when Inter Milan came calling, he knew where to go. A fan of Spalletti at Roma, Karamoh blocked everything else out when he heard Inter was in for his signature. He completed his dream move to the blue side of Milan on transfer deadline day with all the hype and expectation riding on his shoulders.
When you say that Neymar is your inspiration, you immediately put yourself in another category. In an interview when he arrived at Inter, Karamoh signaled his ambition by saying that Inter are going after the Scudetto and that he wants to be like Neymar. We all get to dream, but only some people get to reach the heights of those dreams, and Karamoh certainly has that opportunity.
The new number 17 for the Nerazzurri hasn’t played a match yet, but this season is still his for the taking. He has completed his move to a top team, and now, with the eyes of Inter and the Serie A fanbases on him, he has the opportunity to soar to the heights of Neymar. All it takes is one moment or one chance to take you to the top, and Karamoh will be waiting for his chance. Ousmane Dembélé may be out until January, but French enthusiasts have this talented winger that can step up when called upon.
By: Christian Candler/@_candler