2017 22under22 Countdown – #9: Kingsley Coman

“Kingsley is a player with immense potential” – Didier Deschamps


Date of Birth: 13 June 1996
Nationality: French
Position: Winger
Club Appearances: 83 (9 Goals)
International Appearances: 11 (1 Goal)
EIF Ability Rating: 65.5

*EiF Ability Rating is a representation of a combination of the player’s current ability and potential ability. It is determined by multiple rounds of voting, and then an addition of the scores given by each judge. The maximum score a player can have is 80.*


Kingsley Coman, currently playing for Bayern Munich on loan from Juventus, comes into our countdown at  #9. Last year’s rankings had him claiming top honors at spot #1, but less playing time this year due to injuries and the returns of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben have dropped him 8 spots down the list. However, with his performances drawing praise and attention from managers across Europe, this scintillating young Frenchman is going nowhere but up in the world of football.

Bayern Munich is one of the biggest clubs in Europe, and consequently has a vast squad of incredibly talented players. This makes in difficult for an up and coming player like Coman to get consistent minutes. Last season, he was able to nail down a starting position, but only because both Ribéry and Robben were plagued by injuries. Coman performed well, but both these stars returning this season compounded with Coman struggling with several nagging injuries has meant that most of his appearances have been substitutions, and he has often failed to make large impacts in the games. This being said, when Coman gets the ball at his feet with a defense in front of him, it is a joy to watch as he tears through any number of players on the way to the goal.

Kingsley Coman came up in the Paris Saint-Germain academy after joining the French giants in 2004. He became the youngest player to ever play for PSG in 2013, when he replaced Marco Verratti against Sochaux. At the time, Coman was 16 years old. That season he only appeared three times, and was eager to join a side that would give him the opportunity to showcase his talents on a regular basis. Juventus signed Coman in July of 2014, on a five-year deal, which still stands today. He spent two seasons at Juventus, making 22 appearances and scoring once. But Coman was still not getting the time he desired, and did not feel at home in Turin. In 2015 He joined Bundesliga kings Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal for 7 million Euros with the option to buy at the end of the loan for 21 million Euros. His first season was brilliant, making appearances and turning heads every weekend. Coman’s best performances came in the Champions League, memorably assisting the equalizer against his parent club Juventus (why didn’t they put a non-compete clause into the loan deal?). This season, the second year of his loan, has not proved to be as successful as the first. Injuries and lack of playing time have caused Coman’s rating to drop, but at the times he does play it is clear he is one of the top talents in the world.


Strengths


Coman
Photo: Getty Images

Kingsley Coman is a dribbler. To reiterate, Kingsley Coman is one of the most talented dribblers in the world. He is insanely fast, and having the ball at his feet does not slow him down, if anything it makes him appear quicker. He has the natural talent to ghost by one, two, or three defenders with apparent ease. Often times the only option for his victims, sorry, “defenders,” is to commit a foul in a dangerous area. This pace and dribbling ability make Coman an incredibly dangerous player when coming forward, playing on either the left or right side of the field. On the left, he loves to cut in onto his stronger foot to play an incisive pass or take a shot. On the right, Coman is adept at beating his defender and immediately delivering a well-shaped cross into the box.

Many players on this list boast the same sort of ability as Coman. It seems that almost every young winger is “a fast and elusive dribbler.” However, what sets Coman apart is his ability to do this better than almost any other young player in the game. When compared to other talented young dribblers such as Marco Asensio and Leroy Sane, Coman’s incredible balance, agility, and ability to improvise set him apart. Regardless of the number of men put on him, Coman finds a way to beat them, often times squirming in between two players trying to bring him down. If his team is not producing in the final third, he can be seen tracking back, winning the ball, and starting the counter attack on his own, as he did against Juventus in his first season at Bayern Munich.


Weaknesses


Coman
Photo: Dream Team FC

Coman is still a young player, and this is really his biggest weakness. His lack of maturity can be seen in his decision-making ability. Often times it seems that his go-to option when receiving the ball is to turn at his defender and run. However, although entertaining, this is not always the right decision. Sometimes a one-time pass square or back and a quick turn and run could create much more space than if he tried to take on his defender. Coman needs to decide before he receives the ball exactly what he wants to do with it. At the level that he plays at, this decision cannot always be to take on his defender, even though I wish I could condone that activity because it leads to such great highlights.

Coman also needs to work on his finishing. He gets into such great positions, but the final product is not always there. If he can begin to score and assist consistently, as Eden Hazard has done over the course of his transformation into a prolific goalscorer, there will be few better players in the world. Coman is not the greatest defender, but this should be expected from a young winger. His arsenal also lacks an accurate long pass and he rarely wins headers, but these traits are not always required for his position. It will be exciting to see how he develops after putting on more muscle and becoming (terrifyingly) even more explosive than he already is.


Kingsley Coman is a thrilling young player. His ability to take on a defender is second to none, and he does so with blistering pace. Bayern will probably exercise their right to sign him from Juventus this summer for 21 million euros, this price being a steal for such a talent. With more playing time and a few more years to fully mature, Kingsley Coman may and will probably become one of the best wingers in the world.

Previous: No. 10, RB Leipzig’s engine, Naby Keita
Next: No. 8, Monaco’s set piece magician, Thomas Lemar