Football - DR Congo - Arnaud Kalimuendo: The right season to turn the corner and join the "Leopards"?

Rennes' French forward #09 Arnaud Kalimuendo (R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais FC and FC Metz at The Roazhon Park Stadium in Rennes, western France, on August 13, 2023. (Photo by LOU BENOIST / AFP)
Football - DR Congo - Arnaud Kalimuendo: The right season to turn the corner and join the "Leopards"?

Arnaud Kalimuendo is widely expected to make a name for himself this season, and could be on his way to the DRC. The Franco-Congolese striker has not closed the door on his homeland in his latest outings.

Arnaud Kalimuendo at a crossroads

Formed at PSG, Arnaud Kalimuendo is one of the many Parisian "Titi" who had to leave the club to launch his career at a more modest club. It was at Lens that he made his name on loan, before being permanently transferred there between 2020 and 2022. The 21-year-old centre-forward managed to score 19 goals in two Ligue 1 seasons.

Recruited by Rennes for 20 million euros, expectations will be high for the new figure of the Breton club's attack. "Kali" will not enjoy the same success as in the 2021/22 season, when he scored 12 Ligue 1 goals. Hampered by injuries at the start of last season and often unreliable for the rest of the season, he scored 7 times in the league in a team that was nevertheless very attacking.

At the end of a season with mixed results, the 9 of the French U-21 team scored a fine goal against Italy at the Euro U21, but he was withdrawn from the 11 for Sylvain Ripoll's last complicated matches. His confidence will not, however, be dented after his first vacation in Kinshasa and a good preparation.

The future of the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Arnaud Kalimuendo has made a convincing start to the season, scoring a goal and winning a penalty in three games.His form has led coach Bruno Génésio to believe that this season "will be the right one". The right season, perhaps, to break new ground and become one of Ligue 1's most dependable players. This will undoubtedly delight the Congolese soccer federation, which is already in contact with the French striker.

According to the latest reports, the player is not closed to representing his parents' country, even if he feels comfortable with the French U-21 team. Coach Sébastien Desabre could have an additional argument if the "Leopards" qualify for the next African Cup of Nations. The Kalimuendo deal is unlikely to be completed by the September international break, but will take its course over the coming months.

A versatile attacker capable of playing on the flanks with remarkable power, the DRC would see its attack strengthened if the young player from Stade Rennais were to change his sporting nationality. He could form a fine forward line alongside Yoane Wissa, Cédric Bakambu and Gaël Kakuta, to whom he is closer.

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