Timothy Weah’s explosion was one of the stories of pre-season as he proved there is far more to his game than simply being the son of 1995 Ballon d’Or winner George.
The teenager burst onto the scene with Thomas Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain and appeared set to have a significant role to play at Parc des Princes this season after scoring in the 4-0 Trophee des Champions win over Monaco and then again off the bench versus Caen on the opening weekend of Ligue 1 action.
It seemed that he had seized his opportunity, with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, the club’s frontline duo, fatigued having only just returned following World Cup duties with France and Brazil respectively.
Despite scoring a goal for every 72 minutes he’s been on the pitch this season, Weah has subsequently faded from view and since playing one half against Guingamp on August 18 has not even appeared on the teamsheet for Tuchel.
The arrival of Eric Choupo-Moting in the closing hours of the summer transfer window has seen him cast to the shade, despite the former Stoke man netting only once in 12 outings for the Parisians.
This falls against a backdrop of the German showing his willingness to give academy prospects Stanley N’Soki and Moussa Diaby, whose contribution of three goals and five assists from only 534 minutes has eclipsed that of his fellow youth-team graduate, increased first-team exposure.
Indeed, Weah has earned far more game time with the US national team, with whom he has played five games, including four starts, and totalling 359 minutes.
Otherwise, he has been restricted to training with PSG’s top team and flirting occasionally with playing in the B team, earning his spurs by scoring two goals in three outings in the French fourth tier, where games are often played on little more than public parks.
Nevertheless, he knew there was this possibility when he sat down with his mother – who is the parent who has largely overseen his footballing development, despite his illustrious father – to discuss the best course of action during the summer.
“My mom, she thought I am still really young and tender. There’s still some stuff to work on,” he said in September.
“She thought if I did go to a lower team in the same league, there would be so many expectations to carry that team or potentially fight for a league winning spot. I don’t feel that I’m ready for that.
“I’m always ready for a challenge but right now I feel like training with PSG, training with Neymar, Thiago Silva and getting better each day - I feel like that’s the way to go. That’s the choice we made.”
Over the ensuing months, he has not changed his perspective, which is mature for an 18-year-old.
“Right now, I’m not playing but I’m always looking for progress, to do more, watching others and learning from them,” he said, speaking in November. “I’m waiting for my chance, but I hope I can go on loan soon.”
His chance is liable to arrive in the days ahead, with clubs from around Europe clamouring to play their part in the development of the son of a legend, who is a highly promising talent in his own right.
“Tim is in the ‘American mould’, always smiling, with his headphones over his ears, laidback and still needs a good relationship with his coach,” former PSG reserve both Francis Rodrigues told Paris-United. “I think that finding time with a Ligue 1 or even a Ligue 2 side would be good for him. He must now step up a level away from Paris, where the bar is set extremely high.”
And of course, there is top-flight interest in France, with Strasbourg leading the way in that regard, though with Amiens hovering, too.
RMC, meanwhile, report that there is interest from the Bundesliga, where another former PSG academy product Jean-Kevin Augustin has impressed for RB Leipzig since making the move in 2017. Stuttgart and Leverkusen would offer such options from Germany, while from Serie A, the likes of Sassuolo, Fiorentina and Lazio lurk.
But while it seems that in the short term, Weah’s future lies away from the French capital, he has already shown himself sufficiently capable to have earned a longer future at Parc des Princes, where he is under contract until 2020.
His exploits last summer were a glimpse of what he is capable of, but after this false start, his real breakout seems destined to follow.