Kylian Mbappe is not the only exciting young talent at Parc des Princes, with a young American with a famous father making a real name for himself
When Timothy Weah scored Paris Saint-Germain’s final goal in their 3-0 win over Caen on Sunday, it marked the 8594th day since his father had last found the target for the capital club in a Ligue 1 match against Sochaux.
The 18-year-old hinted at his potential a week earlier, scoring from close range in the Trophee des Champions against Monaco, but his opportunist strike last weekend was the first when it really mattered.
Still in the embryonic stages of his career, he is, nevertheless, threatening to follow in the illustrious footsteps of his father, who was once heralded as the world’s greatest player.
Liberian international George Weah still stands as one of PSG’s greatest icons, having propelled them into the semi-finals of the 1994-95 Champions League on his way to winning the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award.
However, his son has never seen his famous surname as a burden. “It pushes me to work even harder because people expect a lot from me,” Weah Jnr admitted as a 15-year-old. “I don’t fear that my team-mates might be jealous.”
Tim’s upbringing has been very different to that of his father. Born in the USA and brought up through the New York Red Bulls’ youth academy before moving to France as a 14-year-old, he has travelled a very different path to PSG’s first team.
George played three years in Liberia and Cameroon before finally getting the break to move to Europe aged 22. It was Arsene Wenger, then Monaco coach, who had the foresight to conclude a deal worth just £12,000 for the striker – one of the best bargains he has ever secured.
After scoring at the rate of once-every-two-games with the principality side, Weah earned a switch to PSG and subsequently played for the great AC Milan side of the 1990s, as well as Chelsea, Manchester City and Marseille.
Today, Weah Snr stands as one of the greatest African players ever and has since gone on to become the 25th President of Liberia.
While his son, who has already committed his international future to the US, might not have shown the same love of politics, preferring to make music in his spare time instead, Tim has certainly hinted at similar talents on the football field, having made a formidable start to life in the professional game.
Breaking through at a club such as PSG is a battle in itself, but at just 18 he had earned the trust of erstwhile coach Unai Emery to play a few minutes against Troyes last season.
Five months on, and he has charmed a new coach Thomas Tuchel sufficiently into presenting him game time while the club’s current crop of superstars work their way back to full fitness after the World Cup.
“Timmy has an outstanding combination of endurance and speed, and now we have to make him aware of this,” the German explained following a summer clash with Bayern Munich. “These are his main weapons.”
But despite his praise, the former Dortmund coach has identified aspects of his play that the teenager must develop, mental areas in which maturity and experience count as heavily as talent.
“He will have to understand the team, the rhythm, the play, when to attack, when to use his speed, when to wait and not go to early and be caught offside,” he explained.
“But the basics are there at a very high level and it’s an outstanding combination. From now on, we’ll push him forward and when he’s willing to be concentrated, to step up in every training session, then we’ll push him.”
Weah appears to have responded positively to those words of encouragement, having netted in each of PSG’s competitive matches this season.
Indeed, he seems to have an instinctive trust in his new coach. Even before the pair had talked, the teenager told L’Equipe that he was confident the club’s academy graduates would be given more of a chance to shine: “I really believe he wants to develop those things here.”
Between players returning fatigued from the World Cup and Financial Fair Play (FFP) constraints, circumstances have ensured that has indeed been the case, yet it was up to the youngsters to prove their worth.
Defenders Stanley N’Soki and Colin Dagba have also caught the eye, but it is Weah who is spearheading the youth revolution in the French capital.
“We’re very happy with them,” Marquinhos, who arrived at the club as a 19-year-old and has developed into a regular, explained on Friday. “We saw against Caen and Monaco that they can play. We know if we need them this season, they will perform.”
Weah’s displays thus far have ensured that when Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani or Neymar – a player he named in his greatest all-time XI even before the Brazilian arrived in Paris – need rested, he will be towards the front of the queue.
His goal against Caen last weekend, the result of a calamitous goalkeeping error but also impressive opportunism, will surely be the first of many at Parc des Princes.
The family legacy, it seems, is in safe hands.