Remember Kenan Yildiz? A Bayern Munich campus prospect that the club was unable to keep in the transfer window this past summer — less an indictment of sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić than a consequence of the club’s youth ranks and senior team swelling with talented attacking midfielders. Not every player had a clear pathway forward, and so Yildiz departed for Serie A and Juventus FC.
There, he’s been tearing it up, apparently, and the German-born Turkey youth international has now drawn the attention of SL Benfica in Portugal:
News Kenan #Yildiz: The 17 y/o top talent (former FC Bayern Campus) with 6 goals & 5 assists at Juventus U19 so far. Now Roger Schmidt wants to bring him to #SLBenfica. But Juventus is happy with him. He could get playing time in the first team soon. @Sky_Marc @SkySportDE pic.twitter.com/JkpgAgmqIp— Florian Plettenberg (@Plettigoal) December 17, 2022
If Roger Schmidt rings familiar lately, that’s because the German manager — with past stints at SC Paderborn and Bayer Leverkusen — has been doing outstanding work in the Primeira Liga. Benfica sit eight points clear of Porto in first place after thirteen matchdays, and that’s after a marquee summer transfer loss of striker Darwin Núñez to Liverpool. Núñez was coolly replaced by Gonçalo Ramos, who put on a nice show at this year’s Men’s World Cup with a hat trick in their 6-1 smashing of Switzerland in the Round of 16.
Which is to say — if Yildiz, who turns eighteen in May, can establish himself quickly in Turin, he’ll have plenty of enticing options to take the next steps in his career, be that in Serie A or abroad.