It is an unusual scene, but not a new one for Grzegorz Krychowiak. Under a radiant sky, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder played with the reserves at Camp des Loges on Saturday, helping them to a 2-1 win against amateur side Bergerac.
A fortnight earlier, the Poland star had already asked to be dropped to the second string. He has one idea in mind: playing for the national side in March.
Back in his homeland, many observers are beginning to worry about the situation of one of their star players.
“People are hoping that he will leave,” Zimkowski Bartosz, a journalist at Wirtualna Polska, told Goal. "We cannot see the Krychowiak who is the leader of our national team, who was so obvious with Sevilla. This because the locker room does not like Grzegorz too much, and his place on the sidelines is still not questioned at the moment. "
Since December 21 and PSG's 5-0 victory against Lorient, Krychowiak has not appeared for the French champions – strange for a man bought €30 million ahead of the campaign.
It was a deal brokered well before the arrival of Unai Emery by Olivier Letang, who knew the Bordeaux academy graduate when he featured for Reims, although the Spaniard validated the signing. Just 16 games and 907 minutes later, he is out of the picture.
“It's a matter of competition,” his coach told a press conference on Saturday. “I've talked with him, as I do with all my players, there's a lot of competition in the team right now. There is Adrien Rabiot and it's a very difficult post - he has to be ready to play when we need him and that's why he's going to CFA [amateur league].”
On Saturday, the Pole showed that he lacked rhythm. At the level he played with the reserves, it's almost unthinkable to see him featuring again with the first team.
Emery’s explanations have not convinced the entourage of Krychowiak, who rejected a move to Inter this January in order to fight for his place in Paris.
“Unai Emery says that he does not have the level, but he has never been able to play several matches in succession,” those close to him argue.
Inside the club, the midfielder’s professionalism is not under question; he continues to train normally with the first-team squad, for instance.
In Ligue 1, he has started only consecutive games once, but he is paying the price for his involvement in defeats against Bordeaux and Guingamp before Christmas. Aside from the loss to Monaco in August, he has featured in all his side’s hiccups.
If these encounters were collective disasters, this was not the case for the 2-2 draw against Arsenal back in November, when Krychowiak was below the level of his team-mates.
His situation echoes that of Jese, who Emery felt failed to seize his chance.
Should we then expect to see him leave the club this summer? “We'll wait to see if the situation changes,” those close to him explain. "We'll see at the end of the season.”
Krychowiak did not stay long at Stade Georges-Lefevre on Saturday after the reserve team’s victory. Before getting into his McClaren, ensuring there was no mistake about the status of the player, he did not want to talk about his situation – another daily chore that he is having to get used to.