Manuel Veth –
RB Leipzig continue their policy of targeting young players all over Europe. The big story on Monday was that die Roten Bullen are among the clubs that have an interest in young Portuguese forward Umaro Embalo.
Born in Bissau Embalo is part of the Benfica Lisbon youth setup and has been an outstanding player for Benfica’s UEFA Youth League side where he has scored one goal and one assist in three games this season. Scouts have already compared Úmaro Embaló with Argentine’s winger Ángel di María, who made his first steps at Benfica before embarking at a European career that saw him play at Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Still, only 16 comparisons with other players, of course, have to be taken with a grain of salt. But there is no doubt that Embaló is a special player considering that the world elite is trying to get the signature of the forward. Manchester United, in fact, seemed to have a deal all but in place according to several English news outlets. Those reports, however, appear to have been premature with Embaló’s agent Catio Baldé telling the Portuguese paper A Bola that several clubs have requested information for Úmaro Embaló, but that no club has an agreement in place to sign him.
Umaro Embalo – The €13 Million Wunderkind
The German paper Bild claimed on Monday that Leipzig have offered €13 million for Umaro Embalo. A significant amount of money for a player that has not played a single minute in professional football. But at the same time, the deal would fit into Leipzig’s transfer policy.
Ralf Rangnick has often stated that the club aims to bring in players, who can be formed into completely adapting to the RB Leipzig model of playing the aggressive Gegenpressing style of football. Rangnick believes that players in their mid-twenties are already hardwired in the way they want to play and that the club will, therefore, use creative methods when it comes to signing new players.
This summer, for example, Leipzig signed the relative unknown Jean-Kévin Augustin, Ibrahima Konaté and Bruma. All three are raw talents that combine technical ability with physical strength. But going even further back Dayot Upamecano, Emil Forsberg, Yussuf Poulsen and even Timo Werner all are symbols of Leipzig’s transfer strategy.
Leipzig’s transfer strategy means to identify players that can be developed, brought to the next level and either be sold with a profit or established at the club to reach the goal of becoming a top European club. Embaló would most certainly fit that mould.
Bruma Could be Leipzig’s Joker in the Transfer Poker
Embaló’s agent Baldé believes that Embaló could undergo a similar career path to Leipzig’s Bruma, who is also represented by Baldé. Bruma left Benfica’s rivals Sporting aged 18 to play for Galatasaray and after being loaned out to Real Sociedad and Gaziantepspor managed to break into Galatasaray’s first team before joining Leipzig this summer.
According to Baldé Bruma’s success story is now supposed to become the foundation for Umaro Embalo’s career. “We want to use the same formula for him. We will guide him and keep all distractions and potential turbulence away from him, for him to be able to focus only on school and football. He is already at a top European club and on a good path to becoming a top player. But he shouldn’t think that he is already an ace. Neither his parents or I will allow that.”
With Leipzig’s ability to develop players and shield them from outside influences die Roten Bullen could very well become the front-runners for his signature. Umaro Embalo and his agent Baldé will also be aware of the fact that the Bundesliga has become the number one address for world-class talents, who want to play at the top level and at the same time have a realistic chance to play first-team minutes.
Even big clubs like Bayern or Dortmund have put their focus on young players that can be formed rather than finished products. Dortmund, for example, have signed Jadon Sancho from Manchester City this summer and brought in young Swedish striker Alexander Isak this January. Given that Embaló could expect first team minutes sooner rather than later by joining a Bundesliga club it would not be a big surprise should RB Leipzig be able to outbid the likes of Manchester United and bring in the Portuguese wunderkind.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.