Bayern Munich’s interest in versatile Stade Rennais forward Mathys Tel is heating up. The player has reportedly given sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić a verbal commitment, and an improvement on Bayern’s first offer is sure to follow. But where does the 17-year-old fit in? According to Kerry Hau of Sport1, it’s at center-forward:
According to SPORT1 information, the U17 international and his family have now also informed Rennes officials and coach Bruno Génésio that they want to move to Munich. Salihamidžić and Nagelsmann see him as Europe’s greatest center forward talent — and they are not alone in this view.
Rennes coach Génésio, who previously worked for a long time at Olympique Lyon’s superb talent factory, is said to have said several times internally that Tel is France’s most talented striker since Karim Benzema. Génésio knows the Real star from his time at OL.
Previously we’ve headlined Tel as a winger. Now the dogged pursuit — as well as the considerable price tag — is getting a more concrete explanation. Per Hau’s reporting, Tel has been on Bayern’s radar for two years already; Salihamidžić has become especially enamored, and is confident the youngster would immediately push for minutes under Julian Nagelsmann.
Tel hasn’t played much for the Rennes senior side yet, but absolutely lit up the U17 European Championship in Israel earlier this year. From YouTube channel Scouting Report, here’s his performance against Poland U17 in focus:
Tel has that classic striker’s sense for goal and is clearly comfortable in the center. More than that, he demonstrates the full range of a modern 9 — and we know how much Nagelsmann values his striker in build-up.
Here are two screencaps to highlight two of those moments:
Tel gets on the ball deep and smoothly channels former Germany international Mesut Özil in his prime — casually going for the dagger option rather than the more obvious but ponderous play. A lines-breaking through-ball to play in the right-back; a flick on to press a numbers advantage at pace — Tel isn’t just there to score. He appears to relish the creative role.
Tel being planned for the first team sets him apart from other youth targets in this transfer window. This would be a senior team signing and is apparently where Bayern’s striker search has definitively landed. He would be an exciting wonderkid given plenty of time to acclimate in the shadow of either Sadio Mané or Robert Lewandowski — or both.
And while not every bit of hype pans out, Tel’s talent, profile, and pedigree have all the makings of another sparkling bit of work in identification and recruitment by the Bayern team.