Schalke lost one of their prized assets this summer as Manchester City parted with £37m to secure the signature of promising winger, Leroy Sane. The German international was developing into a key player for his side before the Citizens came calling. But Schalke need not worry as they may have replaced him with a striker with even more potential.
Die Knappen won the race for highly sought after striker, Breel-Donald Embolo, for around £23m from Swiss side Basel. Embolo received many plaudits during his time in Switzerland and many believe he is destined to reach great heights in his career.
We introduce their new signing…
NAME: Breel-Donald Embolo
KNOWN AS: Breel Embolo
HE’S A BIT LIKE: Didier Drogba
Who is he?
Embolo was born in Yaounde, Cameroon but started his footballing career in Switzerland with Nordstern Youth, before moving to Basel’s youth system in 2010. He quickly established himself as one of the top players in his age group and lifted the U16 Swiss Championship twice.
His performances did not go unnoticed and he received his first professional contract with Basel, just weeks after turning 16-years-old. He made his professional debut in 2014 and scored on his first league appearance for his side – just four minutes after entering the game.
Embolo also scored in the Champions League against FC Ludogorets and led the line in crucial games against Real Madrid and Liverpool. He was targeted by Wolfsburg in January 2016 but Basel rejected any advances. However, Embolo continued to be linked with moves away after he lifted his third successive Swiss league title.
Reports suggested that Aston Villa and West Brom were interested in bringing the forward to the Premier League whilst other sources have reported that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was ‘desperate’ to sign Embolo before he completed his move to the Bundesliga.
Style of Play
The 19-year-old has drawn comparisons with legendary striker Didier Drogba due to his imposing 6ft frame. Embolo has the strength and power to hold off his man but also has blistering pace – making him a nightmare for defenders. He is able to hold the ball up and bring him team-mates into the game or propel his side on the counter-attack.
Although his goal record in Switzerland was impressive, the forward sometimes lacked consistency. Many games he went missing if things did not go his way but he is still young and has time to adapt his game in difficult situations. Embolo was also utilised in centre midfield at times and was likened to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.
“I think he is a sensation – playing like that aged 17. I like him as a person as much as I do as a player.” – Former team-mate Fabian Frei on Embolo
“Fans love to see a young player emerge and make his way. Breel inspires excitement. He allows fans to dream.” – Basel President, Bernhard Heusler
“On the pitch he was incredible: In one season he made 100 goals.” – Former youth team-mate, Luca Zwimpfer
“I am not worth that money.” – Embolo on Wolfsburg’s failed £27m transfer approach
“I have my mother to thank for everything. I just play and try not to focus too much on anything else.” – Embolo on his childhood
The Swiss international was linked to many European heavyweights this summer. Both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were reportedly keeping tabs on the youngster but decided against making a move for the forward.
Manchester United also expressed a huge interest in the youngster but brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and focused on a move for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. With a £100m transfer for Paul Pogba in the works, it may not have made financial sense for the Red Devils to move for Embolo.
However, a move to United may not have been in his best interests. United already have one of the most promising forwards in the world in Anthony Martial and it is evident only one of the two would see regular game time alongside Ibrahimovic. Youngster Marcus Rashford also enjoyed a breakthrough season which provides further competition in the striking department, without even mentioning Wayne Rooney who Mourinho intends to move from midfield.
Therefore, Schalke could be the perfect opportunity for Embolo to grow and improve as a player. The Bundesliga is the ideal platform for the striker to showcase his abilities in a top European side. He joins a young squad with talents such as Max Mayer and Leon Goretzka meaning he has all the tools to succeed in Germany.
The Veltins Arena may not be his final destination if he is able to replicate his form in a top European league as it may not be long before one of Europe’s elite come knocking on the door; with a big offer for one of Europe’s most promising youngsters.
Do you think Breel Embolo will succeed in the Bundesliga this season? Comment below!