Brexi it is now official but the UK’s best exports are still increasing their trade German.
Everyone knows Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund and most knows Jude Bellingham, the 17-year-old who has joined him there since Birmingham City last summer and made their England debut last year.
But what about Bayern Munichthe British who broke the record? Or rather the player Gareth Southgate hopes will choose to play for England this year.
Jamal Musiala proved to be an England wonderkid playing for German giants Bayern Munich
Musiala currently plays youth football for England but he also qualifies for Germany
Jamal Musiala is only 18 until next month, but spent the last year blazing a trail in the Bundesliga for European champions.
An attacking midfielder and left winger, he became the youngest Bayern player in Bundesliga history when he came on against Freiburg last June and Bayern’s youngest goalscorer, aged 17 years 205 days, when he scored against Schalke in September.
Then he made his Champions League debut against Atletico Madrid in December. He now regularly comes off the bench for the European champions and scored their opener against RB Leipzig last month.
For a club that is conservative in raising young children, his composure and ability to adapt to elite football have taken many by surprise since his move to Germany from Chelsea at the age of 16 in 2019.
Born to a Nigerian father and a German mother in Stuttgart, he was originally raised in Fulda, central Germany, until his parents moved to Southampton when he was seven years old, when his mother, Carolin, was studying at university.
Musiala was born to a Nigerian father and a German mother in Stuttgart and played for Chelsea
He played for the Saints academy, briefly returned to Germany before returning to London and at the age of eight joined the Chelsea academy where he grew up close to the family of fellow academy player Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is two years his senior.
He broke Hudson-Odoi’s goal scoring record at the Whitgift School in Croydon, an independent school which is also the alma mater of Victor Moses.
After eight years at Chelsea, he joined Bayern in 2019, moving to Munich with his mother, and his progress has since seen him queuing for a new contract when he was 18.
With only 18 months left on his contract, Musiala is likely to turn Manchester United and Liverpool in circles if Bayern can’t agree to terms.
Bayern will be wary of raising the financial expectations of a player who is still technically a child, but the truth is that Premier League clubs have no qualms about paying £ 100,000 a week to an 18-year-old they think is good.
Musiala is now a regular in Bayern’s first team but has 18 months left on his contract
In all likelihood, a five-year deal that starts off relatively low but rises to over £ 200,000 a week if it progresses as expected will be a way of overcoming the current deadlock.
The other big issue he will have to negotiate this year is for which country he plays for. He had three options but basically it was a choice between England and Germany. He has a British passport but is eligible for Germany and Nigeria as well.
England are in the box seat, having persuaded him to join the U-21 team last November, when he scored in a 5-0 win over Albania.
Both Southgate and Joachim Loew, Germany’s manager, have made informal statements.
Musiala (bottom row, second right) is close friends with Jude Bellingham (bottom left row)
This helped England as Musiala was good friends with Bellingham and Hudson-Odoi, both of whom had been called up by Southgate and played for him as teenagers. And both speak well of the English setting.
Even so, he trained with Germany captains Manuel Neuer and Joshua Kimmich at Bayern and, with the club’s inevitable close relationship with the German FA, it is possible he could play for his native country.
Both managers said they would not limit the player to ensure he was tied up. It’s not fair when nobody can really project how a teenager can progress.
England’s Gareth Southgate (right) and Germany’s Joachim Loew (left) will battle for the Musiala
But it will be hard to resist the temptation to include him in the senior squad this spring when World Cup qualifiers come, even if he doesn’t play.
Not many 17 year olds have been able to beat him with European champions. Britain’s best hope is its familiarity with British culture. She is said to be more comfortable among her British friends, having grown up here.
But with each passing day in Germany, his confidence and assimilation with the country of his birth will grow.
What is certain is that we will be hearing more about the progress this year. Euro 2021 may come too soon for him, but if he chooses England he will likely be another exciting talent for the Southgate manager and his future successors to enjoy.
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England’s strength at right-back may limit his options but 2021 could still be a big year for full-backs.