Dan-Axel Zagadou: Borussia Dortmund's next big star
Ever since Jurgen Klopp took charge of Borussia Dortmund in 2008, the German giants have gradually established themselves as one of the most dominant clubs in Europe. The way Klopp and the managers that followed him at Borussia Dortmund achieved this is by giving a chance to relevantly unknown talents, who have shown potential, and by putting their faith in a lot of youngsters over the years.
Just to name a few, players like Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Matts Hummels, Shinji Kagawa, Ilkay Gundogan and Ivan Perisic are just a few names who were given a chance at Dortmund and have gone on to achieve bigger and better things across various clubs in Europe.
While the list of players are endless, a problem facing the Bundesliga leaders is that over the years they have also been branded as a feeder club i.e a club that buys players cheap and/or develops young players and sells them at a very high price. The German giants have made over €400 million by selling players and their latest sale in Christian Pulisic has made them €64 million.
Pulisic is clearly not going to be the last player to be sold for a huge transfer fee by Borussia Dortmund and the next player on that long list of players could be Dan-Axel Zagadou.
Now I know most of the people reading this article will have no idea who Zagadou is, but the 19-year-old defender is one of the most promising stars at Dortmund at the moment. The Frenchman joined the PSG academy at the age of 12 and after seven years in France the scouts at Dortmund saw potential in him and decided to get him to Germany and give him a chance. With the way he has adjusted to life in Germany and Dortmund, it's fair to say Zagadou is on the way to becoming a top footballer and a world class defender.
Prior to joining Borussia Dortmund, Zagadou did not have any first-team experience but was still given a chance immediately and the German club have had no reason to look back ever since. In the two season's he has been at Dortmund, he has made a total of 29 appearances and has been an instrumental figure in their amazing season and defence so far that has seen them concede just 19 goals this season.
Zagadou stands at 6 ft 5 inches and is a commanding figure in defence. His huge frame itself is very intimidating to attackers. The Frenchman is injured at the moment, but his stats tell us that PSG will certainly be regretting letting him leave.
Zagadou has a pass success rate of 89% so far this season and wins 3.4 aerial duels per game. He averages at least 2 interceptions per game and 5.2 clearances per game. Going forward his stats continue to impress particularly for a defender. He averages 78.3 passes per game and attempts 4.3 long balls per game. [Stats via whoscored.com]
At 18, the Frenchman shows maturity way beyond his years. He likes to take command over the ball and loves to dribble and is not a player to succumb to pressure when he is one-on-one with an attacker.
Borussia Dortmund have struck gold by signing Dan-Axel Zagadou and it is only a matter of time before a top European club comes chasing after him.