Barely arrived and already a scorer, decisive passer and elected “man of the match”: Xavi Simons, landed in Eindhoven from Paris SG, has already put PSV fans in his pocket before challenging Monaco in qualifying for the Champions League , Tuesday (8:30 p.m.).
The Dutch nugget does not seem in a hurry to wait. At 19, this pocket-sized attacking midfielder (1m68) intends to quickly grow on the European scene after having evolved in the shadow of the stars of Paris SG.
Three days before Tuesday’s duel in the second leg of the 3rd preliminary round of the Champions League against Philippe Clément’s men (1-1 in the first leg), Simons was established for the first time this season in an official match by Ruud van Nistelrooy, against FC Emmen (4-1) at the opening of the Dutch championship.
By delivering an assist while twirling for 90 minutes in an attacking support role, to the point of being named “man of the match”, the young man may have scored points for selection in the starting XI on Tuesday.
A week earlier, Simons had registered his first but in his new colors during the event against Ajax Amsterdam (5-3) in the Dutch Supercup.
A dream start after a few frustrating months at PSG.
THE YOUTH LEAGUE RATHER THAN LIGUE 1
Long perceived as one of the best hopes of the Parisian club, Xavi Simons never really had a chance at PSG, which had nevertheless stolen him from the FC Barcelona training center in 2019 by making him sign his first professional contract.
At that time, considered one of the most promising nuggets in Europe, he was already followed on social networks by 1.7 million subscribers (four million today on Instagram) and was represented by one of most influential agents, Mino Raiola, who died in 2022.
But in three seasons, the teenager with the long curly hair will not have exploded at the highest level, victim like many “titis” of enormous competition and limited confidence from his coaches. His main playground will have been the Youth League (the Youth Champions League) and not Ligue 1: he will only have played 11 professional games, with only one assist on the clock.
The timing was not perfect for Simons, with a year and a half spent under the mandate of Mauricio Pochettino, criticized by part of the supporters for his management of young people, confined to crumbs.
And while the new coach Christophe Galtier seems a little more inclined to use young people, Simons has already left… To come back better? Perhaps. Because PSG has slipped a buyout clause into the player’s contract, which can be activated against 4 million euros at the end of the season.
In the meantime, Simons will want to make Ruud van Nistelrooy happy. “Before signing for PSV, I spoke a lot with the coach. He was very clear in telling me what he expected of me: to create danger by playing just behind the leading striker“, explained the attacking midfielder who could therefore evaluate in support of Luuk de Jong against Monaco, after fifteen minutes of play in the first leg.