One of the best striking prospects in European football right now is Cameroon-born Swiss forward Breel Embolo, currently playing for FC Basel in the Swiss Super League.
Embolo is only 18-years-old and is regularly scoring for his club’s first team and the national side.
The six-foot-tall wonderkid is set for a big transfer away from Switzerland in the coming transfer windows, but anyone who fancies buying him will have to cough up big - given the going rate for talented young strikers these days.
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Anthony Martial cost Manchester United £35 million in the summer and was instantly branded “A Waste of Money” by the Mirror, and then he stormed the league, wowing fans with his incredible dribbling and merciless finishing.
The 19-year-old Frenchman instantly becoming a core member of United’s first team has helped to release the recent stigma around heavily featuring youngsters, influenced by Spanish and German methods of culturing players until they are in their 20’s.
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Now, not only will giant clubs be looking to pay big money for top young players, but they’ll also be more trusting of them in the first team - giving these prospects a huge boost in their development.
Basel’s Main Man Breel
Embolo made his first impression on the Basel first team during the 2013/14 season, in which he scored once from seven appearances.
Then the 2014/15 season rolled around and the Swiss giants decided to promote Embolo to the first team. After a few weeks of settling in, the then 17-year-old began to feature as Basel’s starting striker and he did not disappoint.
In his first breakthrough season, he scored 17, set up 13 more and in the process, became the sixth youngest player to play in the Champions League. To complete the campaign, he also made his international debut for Switzerland.
This season, Breel has continued his fine goalscoring form with eight goals and five assists from 21 games. This may seem like a drop in production but last year he scored seven and assisted five in Swiss Cup games whereas, this season he has been too crucial to the first team to be risked against lower league opposition.
Is Embolo on the move?
A top prospect like Embolo, who is performing at the top level as well as he is, does not stay in leagues like the Swiss Super for very long.
Over the summer, news outlets like the Daily Mail reported all sorts of top clubs vying for the striker’s signature. Teams like Juventus, Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund, Spurs, Aston Villa, Everton, Liverpool, West Ham, West Brom and Leicester are all said to be tracking Embolo.
The Martial Effect
In October, the Daily Mail reported the asking price for Embolo was £20 million which actually sounds like an understatement.
At the time of Anthony Martial’s transfer from A.S. Monaco, Transfermarkt valued the French sharpshooter at £5.6 million. He was sold for £35 million and is now valued at £17.5 million by the same source.
Breel Embolo, however, is currently valued at £11.2 million which, by the same calculation, would project his cost to be £70 million, which is obviously absurd.
But the implication Embolo could cost more than the Frenchman is a fair one. Martial had 74 first team appearances for Lyon and Monaco with 15 goals and eight assists by the time he was 19-years-old.
Embolo has 26 goals and 18 assists in his 71 first team appearances and is one year younger.
There is a case to be made for the level of football that each youngster’s team played in and how that is reflected in their performance data, Ligue 1 being of a higher standard than the Swiss Super League.
In regards to their transfer cost, the main factor is that Monaco are rich - even for football club standards - whereas Basel are not quite as well off, so the French side could wait out for a higher price if they didn’t want to sell Martial.
Should Embolo’s Transfer Break Martial’s Record?
By comparison, Embolo and Martial are quite similar talents. They’re both very quick off the mark and ruthless in front of goal.
Whilst Embolo is more eccentric and goal hungry, Martial has better vision and dribbling ability. The two also possess an incredible amount of composure in front of goal and are very mature for their age.
As it stands, Martial is the better footballer and has proved himself worthy of such a big transfer fee. Embolo looks very likely to perform well at an equally high level, but is yet to prove himself in one of Europe’s elite leagues.
There is no doubt the Swiss sharpshooter would be able to step up and perform at the highest level if given regular football at a top club.
Breel Embolo will most likely cost more than £20 million, probably closer to the £30 million mark, but will prove to be a fantastic member of any Premier League side.