Transfer profile: RB Leipzig signing Eljif Elmas

RB Leipzig have moved quickly to fill the void left by the departure of club legend Emil Forsberg to Red Bull New York by signing up midfielder Eljif Elmas from Napoli. The 24-year-old will officially join the club on 1st January in time for the start of training before the Rückrunde restart.

The North Macedonian international is a product of the Rabotnicki Skopje academy and progressed to make his first team debut at the age of 16. His talent was soon being noticed beyond his own country and a move to Turkish side Fenerbahce ensued in January 2017. His star continued to ascend and after just 45 appearances and five goals for the Turkish side, Italian side Napoli snapped him up in the summer of 2019 for a reported €16 million.

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Carlo Ancelotti was impressed enough to hand him his Serie A debut aged just 19 and he also made his Champions League debut in the same season lining up against Liverpool. In Naples he clocked up 189 appearances scoring 19 goals and contributing 11 assists and was a key member of the 2023 Scudetto-winning side.

RB Leipzig are reportedly paying €23 million to bring him to the Bundesliga, where they will expect him to fill the Forsberg role. Like the departing Swede he can pick out a key pass and can be relied upon to unlock tight defences. He has been compared in style to Leverkusen’s Jonas Hofmann, which is a compliment indeed.

What they’re saying

Rouven Schröder (Sporting director):

“By securing the signing of Eljif Elmas, we’ve managed to fill an important position in our attack following Emil Forsberg’s departure. We’ve been monitoring Eljif for a while because he’s an exciting prospect. He looks like the full package, will be a perfect fit for the team personality-wise and he’ll be able to help the team straightaway with his quality.  

“Eljif’s technical ability is amazing. He’s nimble, loves to run and dribble, and can score goals. He can play down the middle, but is equally comfortable on both wings. He’ll bring something different to our game with his skills, since he’s very good at beating his man thanks to his acceleration and physicality. He always looks to get the ball forward. 

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“Despite the fact that he’s only 24, he’s played in Italy and Turkey and has a lot of international experience with North Macedonia. He’s also won two big trophies. That’s why we’re so happy to have signed him. Now, it’s a case of making sure that Eljif settles into the team quickly over the short winter break.”

Eljif Elmas: “Moving to the Bundesliga and joining RB Leipzig is the stuff of dreams for me. The club is known for the special football they play. They like gegenpressing, play with pace and have a strong attack. All of that suits me down to the ground. The team is a cool mix of young talents, who can improve a lot here, and players who’ve experienced and achieved a lot in their long spells at the club. That’s why moving to Leipzig is the right step for me and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in January. 

“RB Leipzig have established themselves as one of the top teams in the Bundesliga and have become a big name in European football in a very short period of time. When I spoke to Rouven Schröder and Marco Rose, I realised very quickly – I want to play for this club! 

“We’ve got a tricky second half of the season. I want to help us stay right in the mix of things at the top of the Bundesliga and potentially cause an upset against Real Madrid in the Champions League.”

About Mathew Burt 1053 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball