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What kind of player are Bayern Munich getting in Mathys Tel?

The Rennes man with the ‘meteoric’ rise and a spectacular future ahead of him comes to fill the biggest shoes of them all.

Tel holds up his arms to signal to his teammates during a preseason friendly against Levante UD in July of 2021
‘Hold on, hold on — have you guys voted yet for Bavarian Football Works at the awards? They’re up for Best Club Podcast!’ — well said, Mathys, well said.
Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

A year ago, he was dipping his toe into the Ligue 1 waters for the first time, not even a professional contract in hand. Now, he’s landing in Bavaria on a head-spinning fee with a rumored #9 jersey in store. What kind of player are Bayern Munich getting from Stade Rennais in seventeen-year-old Mathys Tel?

— with special thanks to BFW community member AfricanBavarian12 for the tip on the story! takes us back to his days at Montrouge FC (a developmental club near Paris which he joined in 2019):

Thomas Berlette, his coach at the time, clearly remembers his meeting with the Rennes native for an interview with him and his parents. “When I received him, my team was second in the league (U17s National) and I did not necessarily need his position. And he answered me: ‘No problem, I will prove and work’”, confides the current Stade de Reims reserve team assistant.

He added: “The following week, I saw him in a session, the rest of the group was a bit patronizing because he is 15 years old but he was really into it. He wanted to progress and learn. At the end, I could see the other kids saying he was too determined.”

This was still when he was playing center-back — yes, that’s right. By this report, defense was where Rennes first scouted him and signed him to play, but Tel’s own ambitions and vision for his future were rapidly changing:

“With my staff, we thought he had dribbling and speed qualities and that it was a waste not to be able to take advantage of them, so we made him play on the side,” recalls Thomas Berlette. Rennes was even able to see the damage as its U17 team, battling with Montrouge for the playoffs, lost on a goal... of its future nugget.

And Rennes, his acclimation was fast. During a period in preseason when his midfielded needed more numbers, Rennes coach Bruno Génésio called him up — and was so impressed he wouldn’t send him back to the minors.

Nowadays, Tel is firmly entrenched in attacking positions, if not pigeon-holed into any particular one. He’s impressed a wide array of scouts, but even they can’t firmly nail down his best projection. What’s clear is that everyone sees an exceptional player in the making: fast, dynamic, technical, and smart. A total football player who will be aided by his experience all over the pitch...and who plays at the nine for the French youth national team.

The nine, of course, is where Bayern seem to be targeting him. One striker out — adios, Robert Lewandowski — one young ‘forward’ in, and striker search ended (for this transfer window, at least). You connect the dots! But is he ready for the glare of the FC Hollywood spotlight?

He’ll have many things going for him. In Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry, Tel has world-class players of similar profile — pacey, goal-scoring (ex-?) wingers — who will show him it’s done as a professional. He has a young, dynamic coach who has a mandate to cultivate the next generation at Bayern.

And he has a club that, tellingly, was willing to go all-in. A €20m + bonuses deal is hardly let’s-take-a-flyer-and-see money, and Bayern only got it there by agreeing to a (likely significant) sell-on percentage. So the bosses see him as one to keep — because if they ever have to sell, Rennes will claim a hefty finder’s fee.

It’s a sizable bet for the Rekordmeister to make. Still, with how far he’s risen already and how quickly, there’s no telling how far he’ll go.

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