With Moussa Dembele’s departure to China all but confirmed, Tottenham need to fill the void left by the elegant Belgian. One option could be Florian Grillitsch.
The midfielder has proven to be effective in an exciting Hoffenheim side, catching the eye of some of Europe’s best clubs. With Dembele close to leaving North London for Beijing Guoan in an £11 million deal, Spurs are reportedly keen on Grillitsch who is rumoured to have an £18 million release clause.
After beginning his career in his native Austria, Grillitsch moved the fabled Werder Bremen youth system for the final year of his youth career before playing for their reserve team.
9 goals in 26 appearances for Werder Bremen II for 2014/15 impressed manager Viktor Skripnik and earned the Austrian a place in Die Werderaner’s first team for the following season.
Grillitsch impressed in his debut season in German football, making 30 appearances in the all competitions. He particularly shone during Bremen’s DVB Pokal semi-final run, where he was Man of the Match in their second round victory over FC Köln and received plaudits for his role in a 4-3 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The Austrian played his part in the 2016/17 season, making 23 appearances in the Bundesliga to help Werder finish in 8th place. His development interested an exciting Hoffenheim side that finished 4th despite being tipped for relegation. Subsequently, the midfielder signed for Julian Nagelsmann’s side on a 4 year deal.
The box to box midfielder has made strides forward for Hoffenheim since his arrival. 29 appearances in all competitions last season with an excellent 2.7 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game in the Bundesliga, helping Die Kraichgauer finish 3rd and qualify for the Champions League.
Style of Play
Grillitsch is a very well rounded midfielder, the epitome of box to box. As shown in the video, his passing ability is impressive, averaging 2.6 long balls a game this season. Although his passes tend not to directly create goals, they are crucial in the build up to goals, essentially assisting the assists.
Physically too, the Hoffenheim midfielder is a massive presence in midfield at 6ft 2. With his powerful runs into the final third, the Austrian really is Dembele’s like for like replacement offensively at just 23 years of age.
Grillitsch’s defensive output is also exceptional. 2.3 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game are among the best in the Bundesliga for a midfielder. Being so comfortable on the ball too makes the 10 time capped Austrian just a joy to watch in the centre of the pitch.
Florian Grillitsch has plenty of time to develop and grow as a midfield player. To be already playing and performing in a Champions League side speaks volumes about his ability.
£18 million in today’s market could be a steal, so Spurs need to act fast before others catch on.
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