Bayer Leverkusen have completed the signing of Bayern Munich midfielder Emre Can.
After accepting an undisclosed bid from Bayer, the Munich club ensured that a buy-back clause would be available on Can before allowing the transfer to happen. The 19 year-old penned a four-year contract at the BayArena, leaving Bayern after four years with the Rekordmeister.
Can, who made his debut for Germany’s U21 side in this summer’s European Championships in Israel, had been a regular for Bayern’s reverse team in the past three seasons before making a breakthrough with the seniors under Jupp Heynckes last season.
The Frankfurt-born midfielder was a surprise starter in the 2012 DFL-Supercup final against Borussia Dortmund, making his first team debut in an unfamiliar role at left-back, and was awarded his Bundesliga debut against Nürnberg in April of this year.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Wolfgang Holzhäuser, chairman and CEO of Bayern and Bayer respectively, both spoke out regarding the transfer. “Emre Can is one of the most talented German midfielders and we’re absolutely convinced that he will make a decisive contribution in helping us in the coming years,” said Holzhäuser.
Rummenigge was just as generous with his praise: “Emre is one of the biggest talents in German football,” he said. “We wanted to allow him to make this step so that he gets sufficient match practice, like for example Toni Kroos did in Leverkusen, Philipp Lahm at VfB Stuttgart or even David Alaba in Hoffenheim.”
Rudi Völler, sporting director at Bayer, praised the 19 year-old’s ‘versatility’, while also going on to say that Can was a player who has ‘great potential’.
Can, primarily a holding midfielder but also capable of playing in a more advanced role and even at left-back, has been a regular in Germany’s youth teams despite an ongoing debate about whether his allegiance lies with his country of birth or his country of ancestry – Turkey. Despite that, the midfielder has been nicknamed “Skipper” by his former coach Steffen Freund in reference to his successful spell as captain of the U17 side.
Following the signing of Thiago Alcântara, Bayern’s midfield now looks one of – if not – the strongest in Europe with the former Barcelona man going head-to-head with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martínez, Toni Kroos, Luiz Gustavo and fellow new boy Mario Götze for places in the centre of the park.
Position: Defensive midfield, Central midfield
Stronger foot: Right
Best attributes: Passing, awareness, positioning
Plays a bit like: Sami Khedira, Michael Carrick, Javi García