As a rule, RB Leipzig don’t sign players on short loans, but they made an exception this summer when snapping up midfielder Xavi Simons from Paris St. Germain. Their decision to go against their normal practise is paying instant dividends as the 20-year-old Dutchman has settled into life in the Bundesliga with ease and is already making people sit up and take note with a number of top displays.
Dani Olmo may have stolen the show for Leipzig in their Supercup triumph over Bayern Munich, but the performance of debutant Xavi Simons was another hugely satisfying moment for the Roten Bullen, but no-one should really have been surprised.
Max Eberl opted to bring the youngster to the club for good reason and anyone au fait with the Dutch Eredivisie last season will know why. On loan from PSG at PSV Eindhoven, Simons scored 19 goals from midfield to finish as the league’s joint-top scorer and added eight assists. PSG duly exercised their right to bring the player back from loan, then opted for a further loan deal with Leipzig.
This season has seen him go straight into Marco Rose’s starting line-up in the position behind the front two occupied last season by Dominik Szoboszlai. The two are by no means a like-for-like swap, but Simons does seem to be an upgrade in terms of his drive, aggression, and involvement. He has the audacity to dribble forward with the ball, throws himself into the duels with gusto and has the eye for a key pass as well as the confidence to shoot himself. Marco Rose also has the option of playing Simons in a more advanced attacking role as a foil for Lois Openda.
After Leipzig’s loss to Leverkusen on the opening weekend, they responded with a 5-1 win over VfB Stuttgart with Simons scoring one and providing two assists. This past weekend saw him break the deadlock away at Union Berlin with a superbly taken goal as well as another assist for Benjamin Sesko.
Speaking after his excellent display against Union Berlin, which helped the Eisernen’s long, unbeaten home record, the midfielder explained he was confident even better was to come. “We have a great team and an amazing coach. We still need to get to know each other more, and I’m confident that we will have a strong season. The season is long and there are lots of games still ahead of us. It’s important that we won today and that we can head into the international break with confidence.”
They say you shouldn’t become too attached to loan players, but in the case of RB Leipzig fans, it is going to be very difficult for them not to fall in love with Xavi Simons this season if the opening three games are anything to go by.