Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala is the best English player you’ve never heard of and can be a real Three Lions super star… provided Germany don’t nick him first
- Jamal Musiala is now becoming a regular feature in the Bayern Munich first-team
- The 17-year-old is an exciting winger who is eligible for England and Germany
- Musiala came through the ranks at Chelsea and is with England’s youth teams
- The winger is also close friends with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jude Bellingham
Brexit is now official but England’s best exports are still plying their trade in Germany.
Everyone knows Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund and most are aware of Jude Bellingham, the 17-year-old who joined him there from Birmingham City last summer and made his England debut last year.
But what of Bayern Munich’s record-breaking Englishman? Or rather the player Gareth Southgate hopes will opt to play for England this year.
Jamal Musiala is proving to be an England wonderkid playing for German giants Bayern Munich
Musiala is currently playing youth football for England but he is also eligiible for Germany
Jamal Musiala isn’t 18 until next month but spent last year blazing a trail in the Bundesliga for the European champions.
An attacking midfielder and wide left player, he became the youngest Bayern player in Bundesliga history when he came on against Freiburg last June and Bayern’s youngest goalscorer, aged 17 years and 205 days, when he scored against Schalke in September.
Then he made his Champions League debut against Atletico Madrid in December. He is now a regular coming off the bench for the European champions and scored their opener against RB Leipzig last month.
For a club which is conservative in blooding youngsters, his poise and ability to adapt to elite football has taken many by surprise since his move to Germany from Chelsea at the age of 16 in 2019.
Born to a Nigerian father and German mother in Stuttgart, he initially grew up in Fulda, central Germany, until his parents moved to Southampton when he was seven, as his mother Carolin was studying at the university.
Musiala was born to a Nigerian father and German mother in Stuttgart and played for Chelsea
He briefly played for the Saints academy, had a spell back in Germany before returning to London and at the age of eight joined Chelsea’s academy where he grew close to the family of fellow academy player Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is two years older.
He broke Hudson-Odoi’s goal-scoring record at Whitgift School in Croydon, the independent school which also is alma mater to Victor Moses.
After eight years at Chelsea he joined Bayern in 2019, moving to Munich with his mother, and his progress since means he is in line for a new deal when he turns 18.
With only 18 months left on his contract, Musiala is likely to have Manchester United and Liverpool circling if Bayern can’t agree terms.
Bayern would be cautious about raising the financial expectations of a player still technically a child, but the reality is that Premier League clubs have no hesitation in paying £100,000-a-week to 18-year-olds they consider good value.
Musiala is now a regular feature in the Bayern first-team but has 18 months left on his contract
In all likelihood, a five-year deal which starts at a relatively low figure but which builds to upwards of £200,000 a week if he progresses as expected will be the way round the current impasse.
The other big issue he has to negotiate this year is which country he plays for. He has three choices but essentially it is a pick between England and Germany. He has a British passport but qualifies for Germany and Nigeria as well.
England are in the box seat, having persuaded him to join up with the Under-21s last November, when he scored in the 5-0 win over Albania.
Both Southgate and Joachim Loew, the Germany manager, have made informal representations.
Musiala (bottom row, second right) is close friends with Jude Bellingham (bottom row far left)
It helps England that Musiala is great friends with Bellingham and Hudson-Odoi, both of whom have been called up by Southgate and played for him as teenagers. And both speak well of the England set-up.
That said, he trains with Germany captains Manuel Neuer and Joshua Kimmich at Bayern and, with the club’s inevitable close links to the German FA, there is every chance he could end up playing for his county of birth.
Both managers have said they wouldn’t cap a player to ensure he was tied down. That would be unfair when nobody can truly project how a teenager might progress.
England’s Gareth Southgate (right) and Germany’s Joachim Loew (left) will battle for Musiala
But it will be hard to resist the temptation to get him in the senior squad this spring when World Cup qualifiers come around, even if he doesn’t play.
There aren’t many 17-year-olds capable of cutting it with the European champions. England’s best hope is his familiarity with English culture. He is said to be more at ease among his English friends, having grown up here.
But with every passing day in Germany his confidence and assimilation to his country of birth will grow.
What is certain is that we are likely to hear plenty more about his progress this year. Euro 2021 may come too soon for him but, if he does opt for England, he is likely to be yet another exciting talent for manager Southgate and his successors to enjoy in the future.
FOUR MORE ENGLAND PLAYERS TO WATCH
Marc Guehi, 20
(Chelsea, on loan at Swansea)
Centre-half impressing so much at Swansea in the Championship that Chelsea are considering recalling him.
Ike Ugbo, 22
(Chelsea, on loan at Cercle Brugge)
Ten goals on 16 appearances in the Belgian top flight for a struggling Cercle Brugge team has Premier League clubs interested.
Emile Smith Rowe, 20
The ongoing Mesut Ozil saga and Arsenal’s collapse in form has been a window of opportunity for the impressive playmaker.
Tariq Lamptey 20
England’s strength at right back might limit his options but 2021 can still be a big year for wing back.