There is a very good reason Borussia Dortmund are not overly concerned that they don’t have any like for like cover for striker Erling Haaland. That reason is a certain 15-year-old wonderkid in their youth ranks, who thanks to a recent change in the rules, might be about to be unleashed on the Bundesliga this November.
The DFL’s decision at their general meeting in April to lower the minimum age for gaining a playing licence in the Bundesliga to 16 has played straight into Borussia Dortmund’s hands and opens up the prospect of their teenage striking sensation Youssoufa Moukoko making his first-team debut during next season’s Hinrunde.
The Cameroon-born striker has been making headlines since joining the Schwarzgelben academy from St. Pauli in 2016. He made his debut for the BVB U-17 side aged just 13 and in 56 appearances scored a whopping 90 goals. He was promoted to the U-19 side where he continued to plunder goals with frightening regularity. In 21 appearances for Mike Tullberg’s U-19’s in the Bundesliga-West, he scored 34 goals in the past season.
Originally the player would have had to wait to join the first team, but the DFL rule change opens up the exciting prospect of BVB easing him into Lucien Favre’s compliment of players for the first XI.
On hearing the DFL announcement Dortmund’s youth coordinator Lars Ricken couldn’t hide his delight. “We’re very happy. It immediately helps the clubs, and also the young players in their development. Most clubs now want to give young, exceptionally talented players the chances to take the next step in absolutely exceptional cases.”
Moukoko clearly is an exceptional case.
He is incredibly strong for his age, has pace and has coped superbly well when playing against players much older than him. He has regularly been training with the Dortmund first team to assimilate him and get him used to playing against adults. He has great close control and shoots powerfully with his favoured left-foot but is more than useful using his right.
Dortmund don’t have a problem blooding talented young players. Nuri Sahin was just 16-years when he made his debut, while last season saw Lucien Favre hand a first start to 17-year-old Giovanni Reyna, while Jadon Sancho was just 17 when he made his first appearance. The club have also just signed English teenage sensation Jude Bellingham for €23 million. Age at Borussia Dortmund is just a number. If you are good enough, you are old enough.
Put the date in your diary- November 20th, 2020. Youssoufa Moukoko will be blowing out the candles on his 16th birthday cake and very soon after could be blowing over Bundesliga defences.