FC Schalke 04 bested European giants Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United, along with league rival RB Leipzig, to secure the services of Breel Embolo from FC Basel. The young star is the second signing of the summer for the Royal Blues, who earlier inked veteran defender Naldo from Wolfsburg.
Back in January Wolfsburg saw a £27 million bid rejected and Embolo was quoted saying: “I am not worth that money”, and chose to remain at Basel until the end of the season.”
The 19-year old becomes Markus Weinzierl’s second summer signing, swapping Basel for Gelsenkirchen, and has signed a five-year contract at the Veltins Arena. Swiss champions Basel said the fee will not be disclosed, though it is reportedly €25m (£20m).
Who is he?
Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Embolo moved to Switzerland at the age of six. The hot-shot is a versatile player and can feature as a lone striker or along both flanks due to his dribbling skills. He featured for BSC Old Boys as a youth player before joining Basel in 2010, three weeks after his 16th birthday, and worked his way up the youth ranks of the Swiss club. He scored in his Swiss League debut against FC Arrau in March, 2014 after coming on as a late substitute.
In just 86 first-team appearances for Basel in all competitions, Embolo has scored 31 goals, including 13 last season, and has 14 assists in 56 Swiss league matches. Embolo also has experience in Champions League play (six matches, one goal) and Europa League action(12 matches, two goals). The youngster has also netted one goal in 14 caps international appearances for Switzerland after playing in the national team’s youth sides.
Embolo was voted the Most Popular Player in Switzerland in both 2014 and 2015, and was awarded Player of the Year last term. And yet, such fame hasn’t changed him.
Basel midfielder Fabian Frei previously said on Embolo: ‘I think he is a sensation … I like him as a person as much as I do as a player.
“His feet will stay on the ground – he won’t be shooting from 50 metres to score the goal of the season. You can give him good advice and he is ready to take it without getting angry.”
Veteran Basel striker Marco Streller, who retired in 2015, took the youngster under his wing and constantly worked with him during training. “He is a huge talent. I am excited to see him every time he plays,” he said.
Schalke revealed Embolo’s signing to thousands of fans and the player appeared in a video on social media wearing a Schalke shirt, with the player saying: “I’m happy to be a Royal Blue.”
The Cameroon-born forward played in each of Switzerland’s games at Euro 2016, but failed to score.
He was a second-half substitute in the last-16 match against Poland, which Switzerland lost on penalties after the match finished 1-1. Embolo has three Swiss league winner’s medals with Basel, and has traded a place in the Champions League group stage for the Europa League with Schalke next season.
Schalke’s new Sporting Director, Christian Heidel, commented
In Breel Embolo, we have been able to bring in a highly talented attacker, who already has a lot of international experience and was also in demand at several other top European clubs
In other S04 news, the club has re-signed Sascha Reither for a year while youngster Felix Platte will play next season on loan to SV Darmstadt 98.
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