It has been quite a quintessential transfer window for Freiburg this summer. As I like to refer them as the “Southampton of the Bundesliga,” the club once again had to deal with departures of key players following a good season in the top flight. In fact, Freiburg and losing key players is a greater love story than Twilight. Since 2013, Christian Streich’s men have lost the likes of Oliver Baumann, Roman Bürki, Matthias Ginter, Vladimir Darida, Admir Mehmedi, Daniel Caligiuri and Max Kruse, a group good enough to form a the nucleus of a decent Bundesliga XI.
This summer, Die Breisgauer have had to deal with departure of Maximilian Philipp (inb4 people start to think, Dortmund are the real poacher of this poor ol’ club) and Vincenzo Grifo, two attackers who were pivotal for their side’s attacking efficiency last campaign.
Freiburg however, were quick to snatch a replacement for Vincenzo Grifo, as they have loaned Polish starlet Bartosz Kapustka from Leicester City.
OFFICIAL: Freiburg confirm the loan signing of Bartosz Kapustka from Leicester City.
Kapustka Happy to Sign for Freiburg
The Polish international admitted he’s happy to sign for Freiburg, a club with “an excellent reputation”. He also thinks that the Bundesliga “is a big challenge”.
“I had a very good discussion with the responsible people here and I am convinced that Freiburg is the right place for my further development” – he told the club’s official website.
Freiburg CEO Jochen Saier believes the Polish whizkid is “technically very sound and has a great feel for the game for someone of his age”. He also added that the club’s main priority is to “get his talents back onto the pitch”.
Indeed, Bartosz Kapustka is a great young talent, and can be induced into one fierce attacker!
So, let’s get into grading the transfer, shall we?!
Leicester City: B+
Young Kapustka captured all the attention in last year’s European Championships, performing exceptionally well for Poland, and ultimately penning a deal with the 2016 English Champions Leicester City. He was signed from Ekstraklasa outfit Cracovia Krakov for a fee of around €4.25m (per Transfermarkt)
However, he couldn’t really convince his new club. Despite lofty expectations, Kapustka made only three appearances for the Foxes last season. To add more salt into the wound, none of the three games, totaling only 151 minutes, came in the Premier League.
Leicester City themselves, are on the back of a dreadful season. After a fairytale campaign, which throttled the expectations to the extreme, the Foxes could only gather about half the amount of points that they managed in their title-winning 2015/2016 season, ultimately finishing 12th. Leicester had one hell of a journey in their debut Champions League campaign, though, reaching the quarter finals stage of Europe’s most elite competition.
But as cool as it seemed, the Champions League also sucked substantial amount of progress in their league campaign/
All of a sudden, the glorious team, under the tutelage of one certain Claudio Ranieri, failed to provide attacking flair, scoring only 48 goals, in contrast of their tally of 68, the season before. Riyad Mahrez was their most prolific winger, with six goals but only four assists. The Algerian was not his previous self, as in the title-winning season totaled 17 goals and 10 assists. Marc Albrighton also chipped in with only two goals while big signing Ahmed Musa also struggled in the Premier League. Yet Ranieri, didn’t feel it a good idea to give newcomer Kapustka his first Premier League game. Nor did Ranieri’s successor, Craig Shakespeare, as the young Pole kept playing for the Under-23 side, scoring two goals and providing an assist in ten games.
Of course, it was harsh on Kapustka. Not being allowed to feature in even a single game in the Premier League, even after a somewhat successful European Championship campaign, quite stinks.
On the other hand, Leicester City haven’t given up on Kapustka yet, shipping him off for a loan deal signals their optimism for the Polish starlet. And the loan contract with Freiburg probably doesn’t include any extra clauses either. So, in hindsight, it was not a bad decision by the board to release him to Freiburg in order to gain more top-level footballing experience that may ultimately help the Foxes.
SC Freiburg A+
With the departures of Grifo and Philipp, Kapustka’s arrival to the club will bring a sigh of relief for the fans. Streich’s men are currently lacking in the wide areas, with only Onur Bulut and Florian Kath available as an out-and-out winger. Even though Kapustka is more of a central attacking midfielder, the 20-year-old has quite a bit of experience playing in wider positions, especially in the right midfield.
Kapustka is a great signing for Freiburg in many aspects. First, as mentioned before, he will prove to be a versatile attacking option for the Black Forest side Not only he can play as a right midfielder, but also has a substantial amount of experience playing in that position. He was seen on the right side of the offense for many times with Polish National Team. Secondly, Kapustka is an amazing individual. Much like Grifo, he has the ability to create chances by himself. Playing him on the flanks is by far the best option for Streich, as the Pole often likes to drift inside. With this system, Streich can also allow Jannik Haberer more freedom in the middle. He has the pace and quality to outmaneuver any defender. Moreover, Kapustka also has some tactical awareness, and is very familiar to playing as the false 10. When playing as a midfielder, he acts as the attacking sort of number eight, patrolling behind the striker and creating opportunities.
Kaputska’s attacking tendencies is sure to offer Florian Niederlechner a lot of cherry to bite at. The permanent new signing from Mainz will have to forge a solid partnership with the Leicester man as they look to wreck the Bundesliga defenses with their vicious counter attacking approach. Under the leadership of Streich it’s almost necessary to have some athleticism and a more aggressive approach in one’s game. something Kapustka should be aware of, and the Pole may need to work a bit more on his physical approach.
Last but not the least, Kapustka comes with a sizeable amount of international experience alongside him. Having already managed 14 caps for his country at a tender age of just 20, is certainly something to be proud of. Hopefully, he will not have any difficulties suiting to the new conditions in the Bundesliga.
The club from the Black Forest couldn’t have managed a better signing than Bartosz Kapustka. However, they need a few more attacking investments if they are to succeed next season, especially with the Bundesliga getting more competitive, with the promotion of Stuttgart and Hannover and also Freiburg having the daunting task of playing in Europa League. Unless they find someone from their famous youth academy, of course!
For Kapustka, the move to Freiburg is the best could possibly hope for. Not only can he play in a league as big as the Bundesliga but can also hone his skills and gain experience from the Europa League as well.
We’re in for a Freiburlicious treat next season!