When the story of Rekik to Arsenal emerged a founding member of the Gunners Town writing team to do some research in Germany of the young centre back. Welcome back, Chis Mader @Germangunners
Omar Rekik-What to expect
Decisive crossroads in a footballer’s career are reached earlier than ever before and it’s no different with Arsenal target Omar Rekik. It is strongly reported that the young Tunisian/Dutch right footed defender could join Arsenal in last summer’s transfer window, but a deal fell through in the last minute. With his contract to expire at the end of the season there’s quite a good chance the ambitious youngster will join Arsenal as early as January with a direct loan deal being a possibility.
England wouldn’t be a total new experience for Rekik. He spent two seasons with Manchester City after joining their youth team from Feyernoord and also spend a season with PSV and Olympique before joining Hertha BSC in 2017. The experience of foreign country and new surroundings shouldn’t be that big of an issue. With his older brother Karim (former Man City, Portsmouth & Blackburn player) leaving Berlin for Sevilla last summer it’s probably the younger brother’s ambition to make the next step in his career as well. So far, he mostly made his transfer decisions based on his older brothers next transfer which was the main reason behind his move to Hertha BSC in the first place.
So far Rekik only featured in Berlin’s youth team which plays in the fourth German division (Regionalliga). He made the bench for three Bundesliga matches last season though which hints to the fact that he is considered as a player to watch for first team football. It’s obvious that Rekik will primarily be an addition to Arsenals U23 with hope to make the cut for the first team if the opportunity e.g. in the League Cup or Europa League come around.
But what will he add to the U23’s? He mainly plays as a central defender but can be used in defensive midfield as well. He’s listed as right footed but as far as the few sightings of him let suggest he’s quite comfortable with his left as well. As Rekik didn’t feature for the first team so far it’s quite difficult to predict if he can be more than a U23’s addition for now.
Fourth league matches are rarely televised and 8 matches/1goal for the 1,86cm athletic defender won’t give you a precise picture of what he can be capable of. Prior to last season he had 31 and 18 appearances for U19 Bundesliga Nord in his two first seasons with Hertha which including the eight starts this season and the step up in division points to a constant development. A lot will be written about a potential transfer but only a decent scouting system and people monitoring Rekik each training session can make a well-founded decision.
In the end transfers in the Youth department these days are mostly based on two factors anyway. The first is scouting and a natural at times raw talent. The second is the assessment of the youth coaches as to whether the player can make the next step or not. Per Mertesacker put it very well in a German Podcast a few weeks back when he said that not all players can make the cut and that a youth team is there to filter the best talents and sadly leave a lot behind or point them into another direction or club.
Omar Rekik has the potential to be a first team player as so many others have in the Premier League U23’s. But talent is only a steppingstone to what needs to be put in week in week out. An Omar Rekik transfer would in the first place be an example of a forward-thinking youth structure and another step to build a pool of young quality players to potentially choose from in the near future.
A 350.000 Euro rumoured transfer fee is worth the investment into a young player who seems to be eager to make the next step in his career.
Mad, Jens-like, thirty-something German. Waving the Arsenal flag in Münster, Germany. Red member. Visiting Arsenal matches for more than 10 years now. Still fussed EasyJet won’t get me free flights. Always down N5 with my dad. Worked in London for about half a year. Started my own German Arsenal blog about two years ago. Expert on Bundesliga issues. BVB my local club.