No April Fools! Davie Selke to join RB Leipzig

When I first saw the news break this morning, I ignored it, putting it down to being an April Fools story to dupe the gullible. Hah! You’re not going to catch me out with that one.

Reading around though and seeing the story repeated and confirmed has brought home the realisation that it’s actually true. Werder Bremen’s young hope and newly crowned club ‘Sportsman of the Year’ Davie Selke is signing for RB Leipzig at the end of the season.

The announcement has come as quite a shock to Werder fans both from a timing point of view and because of his chosen destination.

Selke, who has scored six goals in 23 Bundesliga appearances this term only signed a contract extension at the Weser Stadion in September which would have kept him at the club until 2018. To now turn around and sign a five-year deal with RB Leipzig is strange to say the least.

It’s no secret that the Sachsen side have the cash to splash in their bid to reach the Bundesliga, although the exact amount involved here has not been revealed.

However, Selke’s decision to drop down to the Bundesliga II at this stage in his development is another cause for confusion. While clearly an ambitious club, it looks unlikely that the club backed by the Dietrich Mateschitz millions will be promoted to the top flight this season leaving him kicking around in the second tier for at least another season.

20-year-old Selke joined the Werder academy from TSG Hoffenheim in the winter of 2013 and has since worked his way up to the first team via the U19s and U23s. He has quickly become one of Germany’s most promising youngsters.

A future move to a ‘big club’ was highly conceivable, but a switch to RB Leipzig is not the conceivable move that many had envisaged. In an announcement on the club’s website managing director Thomas Eichin has hinted at the ‘financial’ motivations for the deal.

“We’ve been in discussion since the beginning of the year and we’ve made progress over the past few days”, Eichin explained. “We always said that we would enter such negotiations if all parties can profit from it.

“That’s the case here. Davie has chosen to go there for sporting reasons that will lead to him, either in the short or long term, returning to the Bundesliga, and for us the financial implications are very attractive. It will give us an opportunity to build our squad.”

So there you have the long and short of it. Leipzig have offered silly money for a player and Werder (a club with large financial constraints) have taken it. The recent contract extensions of Zlatko Junuzovic and Theodore Gebre-Selassie were a clear boost, but it’s hard to see this development as a plus.

Asked for his take on the move, Selke has said, “For me, this new chapter starts only in the summer. Until then I would like to play my best for the rest of the season.

“I thank Werder for their cooperation in recent years. Here I was able to develop and I’ve made a big step forward. From the summer I want to help a very ambitious club to be successful. I thank Werder that they allow me this step in my career.”

Whether it is a step forward or a step back remains to be seen, but what it does highlight once more is RB’s financial clout and their determination to reach the Bundesliga.

They will have few people coming out in sympathy but the East Germans do face a quandary in their bid to rise to the top. They have the money to spend, but it must be difficult to persuade Bundesliga-standard players (that their budget can clearly afford) to drop down to the second division- albeit for a planned short time.

That Selke has taken the RB bait shows once again that money does talk. It’s the norm to see Bayern Munich mopping up other teams talent, but now we have new kids on the block RB Leipzig getting in on the act.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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