Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Football Index Player Analysis: Thilo Kehrer
Team: Paris Saint-Germain, #4
Buy Price: £0.74
Current IS: £0.64
Thilo Kehrer developed through the Stuttgart youth system before moving to Schalke in 2012. He played u17 and u19 before stepping up to the senior level in 2015 at the age of just 18 years old. All the while, the full-back represented Germany throughout his progressing young career. At Schalke, alongside the likes of Joel Matip and Leroy Sane, Kehrer stood out as a fantastic prospect and earned himself a move to PSG in the summer of 2018 for a reported fee of €37m - Barcelona were the competing bidders who just missed out on signing the right-back. Since then, he's failed to make a huge impact given the commanding role of Belgium's Thomas Meunier in the French Capital. However, when the opportunity has arisen and Kehrer has been rotated into the starting XI, Kehrer has grasped it and shown many signs of his worth. Kehrer has also been recognised by Germany's national team, earning 7 caps since his arrival in Paris.
Kehrer offers a dynamic and aggressive modern fullback role to a solid defensive PSG side. The central defenders in Paris have always been the spine of the team, with Thiago Silva and Marquinhos dominating the past few years, whilst full-backs have rotated in to fit around the preferred matchday formation. On the occasion, Kehrer has slid into a central role almost naturally, though it seems his better fit these days is on the right hand side of a back four. His aggressive mentality combined with fantastic athleticism lends Kehrer a full-throttle approach to defensive duties. He's solid in one-on-one situations, closes down rapdily when required, and has an engine to hustle down the flanks relentlessly. Though he lacks an inch of space, and isn't the most threatening to deliver crosses, he does offer a solid base score along with the rest of the PSG defence.
With Thomas Meunier now a Dortmund player (and Hakimi leaving Dortmund for Inter), there's not yet been a clear 'replacement' of Meunier in Paris. Kehrer is the obvious man for the job. He was signed for over £30m on a 5 year deal, given the #4 shirt - he looked a part of their long term plans two years ago. The German international has made more than enough appearances for PSG across all competitions in the last two seasons to indicate he's ready for the next level. At 23 years old, he's young, but not naive and has faced plenty of Europe's finest attackers.
He played the full 90 mins when the Parisians shutdown Dortmund's hype train.
Now seems the greatest opportunity for Kehrer to establish himself as an elite full back. His versatility also offers PSG bang for their buck, as he's more than capable playing centrally should injury force a shift in squad rotation. The friendlies PSG currently are playing have seen Kehrer feature as the first choice right back. Now seems the obvious time for his stats to all rise.
This anticipation has barely been observed on Football Index though. Since the covid-crash, Kehrer has fallen from £0.84 and never recovered. With the news of Meunier leaving, traders have not flocked to Kehrer in anticipation of him stepping up. The market has not even plumped for the younger option, Colin Dagba, to fill the shoes. It seems no traders are putting money into a PSG fullback despite their upcoming UCL fixtures.
Then when you factor in Ligue 1's return, where it will be the only domestic PB league running in August and get a 'headstart' on Europe's other leagues, PSG are an obvious PB contender each week. A fullback in the reigning Champions squad could easily post a half decent score and pick up matchday dividends, or even post scores sufficient enough to make it to TOTM. This is an even better opportunity than Meunier had in terms of dividends, and his price was just shy of £1.00 when PSG were last playing competitive football.
Just to reiterate - Meunier was, and still is, more expensive, 5 years older, and has a very similar PB profile to Kehrer. If Kehrer is selected for the Euros, then his credentials are certainly on par with any other £1.00 defender.
The primary reason for Kehrer's stagnation is his lack of noticeable PB scores. A fullback at PSG is never going to hit media dividends without some luck. Realistically the only way to earn is through capital appreciation; at 23 years old it's most likely going to occur as a result of good PB performances which in turn lead to either dividends or transfer speculation.
The issue? Kehrer hasn't hit 200+ yet. However, the athletic right-back has not had a season of regular performances. Ligue 1 was cut short, he was a second choice right back, and mostly filled in on rotation or injury. When you compare the likes of most elite fullbacks on Football Index to Kehrer, he's not had half a chance to get his foot in the door yet.
Despite his lack of high PB scores, he has managed to win TOP DEF on a bronze day this season - his PB max for the season at 186.
His top 5 looks somewhat mediocre, but remember he's only featured in 13 PB eligible matches in 2019/20. 186, 144, 122, 121, 121. His average this season was 100. Stats courtesy of index gain.
A good investment?
If you believe Kehrer is a good player and has potential to improve with more game time, yes. If you believe he will be the starting RB next season for Paris Saint-Germain, yes. If you believe PSG are the real deal, and they could finally start to challenge in Europe, then yes. But if you doubt his abilities, there's a long way to fall when trying to sell an unproven dividend winner back to the market these days.
If Kehrer stays at second choice at PSG, he's not going to get all that many chances to post good PB scores. He'll fail to post regularly to challenge TOTM. He'll fail to gather momentum on the market and will be incredibly difficult to sell without any hype or performances to go off. He's going to struggle to feature for Germany. It's a big knock on effect when playing second fiddle.
But that's the exact scope he has to rise from now. He's still valued as a second choice. If he's going to play as a 23 year old, internationally recognised full back in a European Superclub next season, he's got a lot of growing room.
PSG post solid PB scores. Aside from the top dogs like Neymar and Mbappe, their defenders are great PB scorers on average too. Ball-playing, tempo dictators. The likes of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, and Abdou Diallo all featured in the Top 20 pass completion rates back in March. There are regular passes amongst the back line. even if the fullbacks don't look like the TAA mould that make regular assists. Add a cleansheet and win bonus to many of PSG's domestic games, plus the 1.25x multiplier for their European campaign, and you've got a solid average to work with. Kehrer can certainly join this club of high PB averages, with a hybrid centre-half/full-back skill base.