Reports suggest a whole host of heavyweight suitors clamored for the midfielder’s signature, but when presented with the opportunity to emulate some of Les Bleus‘ brightest exports in a league synonymous with being a playground for all things bright and beautiful, there was only ever going to be one winner.
“I had a wonderful time at Olympique Lyon for which I’m very grateful,” said Tolisso, seen by the Bayern hierarchy as the natural heir in the center of midfield to retired pass master Xabi Alonso. “Now I’m hugely excited to be able to play for the best club in Europe. I’ve set myself some big goals with Bayern. Today is a massive day for me.”
Tolisso is by no means gilding the lily. Countless players in the under-25 bracket have made the Bundesliga stage their own down the years – perhaps the most striking example of the bunch being Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele
“Germany, when you’re a young player, is the best,” Dembele – who joined BVB from Stade Rennes last summer as a largely unproven talent – told L’Equipe. “There are lots of young talents here, and people have faith in them. I feel good in Dortmund, and don’t regret my choice at all. The Bundesliga is the place to be for young players.”
There speaks a man from experience. The Frenchman registered six goals and 12 assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances in 2016/17, featured prominently in Dortmund’s run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and set Die Schwarz-Gelben on the road to victory with the opening goal in the 2017 DFB Cup final.
What is more, the Vernon-born ace is now a fully fledged France international, debuting under Didier Deschamps in September 2016 and earning a further six senior caps since.
One-part potential realised and two-parts promise untapped, 20-year-old Dembele has the world at his feet.
The same can be said of Kingsley Coman. Although he won domestic titles with boyhood club PSG and Serie A giants Juventus, it is only on the books of record Bundesliga champions Bayern that he has begun to enjoy the trust and respect befitting the talent.
“I’m doing well at Bayern,” the France international said in an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com after Bayern took up the option to make a two-year loan deal for the Juventus winger permanent. “I had a magnificent first year, a second that was a little more complicated. But the club has always been behind me. I spoke to the board and they reassured me. They believe in me, and me in them.”
Coman made just ten Bundesliga starts the last term compared to twice that number in 2015/16, but with age on his side and a three-year deal in hand, the 20-year-old trickster will be tearing up Bundesliga flanks long after Father Time has caught up with Bayern’s evergreen old guard. That is a guarantee.
“I’m young, I’m in a time of my life where I need to play,” Coman told French television channel TF1. “If I wasn’t here, if it was difficult, I was ready to think about leaving, but I spoke to the president about the club’s project, about me, and everything was sorted out. I’m at Bayern. I’m very happy.”
New RB Leipzig signing Jean-Kevin Augustin, brought in from French giants Paris Saint-Germain, and Schalke recruit Amine Harit (Nantes) are two more exciting young attacking prospects eager to show what they can do when given a chance.
Bad news for some, but not all, budding Bundesliga defenders. Dortmund new boy Dan-Axel Zagadou and Borussia Mönchengladbach‘s Mamadou Doucore are two up-and-coming examples that fall into the fear-no-one category – fellow countrymen Tolisso, Dembele, Coman, Augustin and Harit included.
France Under-18s captain Zagodou has already earned comparisons with former Dortmund captain Mats Hummels, and – along with Doucoure – was part of the France side that won the 2015 UEFA European U-17 Championship in Bulgaria.
And while defenders do not typically enjoy the fast-tracked careers afforded to their more attack-minded counterparts, the fact Dortmund are yet to find a true heir to the departed Hummels can only be an advantage to the untested Zagadou.
Similarly, the Andreas Christensen-sized void at the heart of the Gladbach defense, after the Dane returned to parent club Chelsea at the end of the 2016/17 campaign, could provide 19-year-old Doucore with his senior breakthrough.
Whatever lies ahead in the immediate future, Tolisso and Co. will not be short of inspiration or, indeed, motivation.
As Dembele and Coman will gladly attest to, raw talent, steadfast application, and a certain je ne sais quoi go an almighty long way in the Bundesliga.