Xavi Simons was linked with big money moves at 12, signed a boot deal with Nike at 13 and had a massive social media following throughout his teens – but he is now finally living up to that hype.
Paris Saint-Germain’s decision to trigger the reported €6m buy-back clause in Simons’ PSV Eindhoven contract was possibly the easiest decision they had to make all summer.
The Dutchman's struggles for minutes at the Parc des Princes is what led to his move to PSV. But on his return, there were similar doubts if he could instantly break into Luis Enrique’s first XI.
This led to a loan switch to RB Leipzig this season, where a WhoScored rating of 7.46 makes him one of the highest rated players in Europe's top five leagues, and bettered only by Kylian Mbappe from the PSG squad.
Simons is now an established international, and his incredible performances in a competitive league show that he is ready to be the key player for an elite team.
Xavi Simons’ Transfer Value - how much is he worth?
According to FootballTransfer’s player valuation model, Simons has a current market value of €26.9m.
The reigning French champions will hope to integrate him into their team next season, but Simons has refused to commit his long term future to PSG and is keeping his options open.
"I already feel at home and enjoy my time at Leipzig, but you can't predict anything in football. No one knows what's going to happen in a few months."
This statement is sure to attract interest from many top European clubs and will lead to a transfer battle in the summer.
Xavi Simons’ strengths and weaknesses - what does the data say?
RB Leipzig is the best possible loan destination for Simons, and the club is providing him with the perfect platform to refine his game.
The La Masia graduate has taken little time to settle in, and no player in Europe's top five leagues has more league assists than his seven. That translates to 0.73 assists from just 1.67 key passes per 90, showcasing a devastating partnership with the likes of Lois Openda and Benjamin Sesko.
At PSV, the 20-year-old was mostly used in midfield or as a traditional number 10. But the departure of Cody Gakpo and Noni Madueke saw him become the focal point of their attack despite being shifted out to the left wing.
Simons’ versatility and exceptional technical skills affords him freedom on the pitch, and enables him to make an impact in any role that his manager asks of him.
We are seeing signs of that at Leipzig too. He mostly starts on the wing but often drops deeper or in the half spaces to receive the ball, and plays a perfectly weighted pass for a teammate. His 0.94 through balls per 90 put him among the top 6% of wingers in the Bundesliga.
Despite being comfortable in deeper areas, Simons is best deployed in advanced positions where his composure and finishing in tight spaces makes him an effective box threat. His six goals in all competitions including two in the Champions League is a testament to this.
In his last two seasons, the Dutch international has also outperformed his xG by some margin, and his Post Shot xG figure being higher than his xG demonstrates his ability to get goals purely on the basis of his finishing.
On the pitch, Simons is constantly scanning his surroundings, and appears to always know what to do when he receives the ball. This puts him a step ahead of his opponents, and his explosive pace and quick change of direction further allows him to either get past an opponent, or be fouled. His 4.19 carries into the final third P90 is another league leading figure.
Defensively, the Leipzig number 20 is not physically imposing but has a great engine and work rate, which he uses to press the opposition to win back the ball.
In a market where top clubs are clamouring to sign and retain the best talents, PSG already have a generational talent on their hands. And Simons is displaying all the ingredients to be the face of a new era at the club.
This article was provided by FootballTransfers