Randal Kolo Muani (24) joined Paris Saint-Germain for €95m from Eintracht Frankfurt on transfer deadline day, and his former coach, Oliver Glasner, has told L’Équipe how his new club can get the best out of him.
Kolo Muani spectacularly burst onto the scene last season. Following his free transfer from FC Nantes to Eintracht Frankfurt, he went on to score 23 goals last season in 46 appearances in all competitions. That form earned him a call-up to the World Cup, and his intervention in the final against Argentina was almost decisive.
He scored his first goal for PSG against Olympique de Marseille in Le Classique, and ahead of Les Parisiens’ UEFA Champions League tie against Newcastle United on Wednesday night, Glasner, who was Kolo Muani’s manager during that breakthrough season in Germany, reveals how his new club can get the best out of the Frenchman.
“He isn’t a wide player” – Glasner
Glasner first spoke about how he used Kolo Muani at Frankfurt. “We played with three defenders, a bit like PSG when they have the ball with (Ahcraf) Hakimi higher. Kolo Muani was also our No 9, but he had a lot of freedom. I couldn’t ask for him to wait in the box for the ball to come. He needed to find spaces in the defence. That’s why there was Götze and Lindstrom, who came to support so that Kolo Muani could be at the heart of the play, and then go very quickly with his pace. We played with two No 8s who served as relayers. It’s important for him to have these players around him.”
The former Eintracht Frankfurt manager then spoke about his best position. “For me, he isn’t a wide player. The conventional winger is Ousmane Dembélé. I needed to see a Kolo Muani who scored goals, and out wide, he made lots of assists, but he scored very little. So he needed to be in the middle. But you can’t ask him to be static. I don’t think he’s at his best like that. He isn’t a physical striker like Olivier Giroud for example, he needs to use his pace. He is very intelligent with his movement, he also improved a lot with his left foot last season,” he said.
“He can’t be isolated” – Glasner
In Ligue 1, Kolo Muani will often be confronted with many low blocks, given that most team’s plan to counter PSG is to remain compact. Glasner doesn’t believe that this will be an issue for his former forward. “Of course (he’s faced low blocks in Bundesliga). In the Bundesliga, there were certain games where we came up against 11 defenders! I don’t get the feeling that that bothered Randal. He is a good player with his head as well, so he can meet crosses, but he needs to arrive with momentum. If you leave him to battle like a pivot, he will find it more difficult to come out of the duel. I remember Champions League matches, against Tottenham for example, where he struggled to win the duel, and we saw that it was more difficult one-versus-one. Randal is an attacker who needs support. He can’t be isolated, otherwise, he can’t combine with the other players and use his speed,” said Glasner.
Kolo Muani is part of a fully French front line at PSG. Against Marseille, he played alongside Kylian Mbappé and Dembélé, before the latter was hooked early with an ankle injury. Gonçalo Ramos replaced the French captain, and the Portuguese international looks to be in competition with Kolo Muani for a starting place. Hugo Ekitiké remains a PSG player, but following his refusal to move the opposite way and join Eintracht Frankfurt, he has been out of the picture.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle