Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich will come up against Karim Adeyemi, the rising German star who the Bavarians let get away, when they play Red Bull Salzburg in an Alpine derby in the Champions League on Wednesday.
With his speed and technique, Salzburg’s centre forward has proved to be too much to handle for most defences in the Austrian Bundesliga this season.
His 14 goals in 18 league games have attracted plenty of attention.
As Germany legend Lothar Matthaeus wrote in his column for Bild, Adeyemi has the potential “to be priceless for most clubs in a few years.
“A big plus is his speed — he has unbelievable pace.”
Bayern’s Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund reportedly lead the race to sign Adeyemi and are said to be willing to pay around 30 million euros ($34 million).
Earlier this season Germany head coach Hansi Flick described Adeyemi as “ice cold” and Bayern must be kicking themselves that they let the forward get away.
He was born in Munich to a Nigerian father and Romanian mother and spent two years in Bayern’s youth academy before being released.
Adeyemi then made his way up through the age grades at another Munich club, Unterhaching, before Salzburg fought off interest from Chelsea to sign him in 2018 when he was still just 16.
After three seasons on loan at feeder club FC Liefering, he broke into Salzburg’s first team in 2020 and has not looked back.
Flick gave him his Germany debut last September when Adeyemi made an 18-minute cameo off the bench and scored late on in a 6-0 thrashing of Armenia in World Cup qualifying.
He is the first post-war player based in Austria to play for Germany.
In the Champions League, his three goals in the group stage — including a brace in a 2-1 win against Lille — help secured Salzburg’s passage into the last 16.
He can create goals as well as score them, floating in a cross which Noah Okafor slammed home to seal a 1-0 home win over Sevilla which sent Salzburg into the knockout stages.
If he does end up moving to Dortmund, Adeyemi would replace Erling Haaland, the former Salzburg prospect who is expected to make a high-profile switch to one of the continent’s biggest clubs.
Adeyemi is a different type of player, more inclined to dribble his way into the box and split the defence with a killer pass.
Just like Bayern, Salzburg have completely dominated their domestic league in recent years and are steaming towards a ninth straight title, but their head coach Matthias Jaissle is resigned to losing his star forward.
“I have had a few open chats with Karim, so any decision he makes shouldn’t come as a surprise to me,” Jaissle told Sport Bild.
“It’s our way at Salzburg that the players can take the next step when they have developed well.”
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