As wonderkids go, Breel-Donald Embolo isn’t one of the most well-known young starlets out there. However 45 appearances, 18 goals and 13 assists in the Super League, Swiss Cup and Champions League is already an excellent return for an 18 year old.
The Cameroonian-born Swiss striker is currently the brightest talent in the Basel youth setup and has already made his international début for Switzerland, replacing Josep Drmić in a friendly against the USA.
Standing at 6″2, its clear that Embolo is a physical presence on the pitch and so uses this to his advantage in winning aerial duels, however his real talent is his dribbling ability.
Its a common misconception that tall players have worse close control than their shorter counter-parts, and Embolo is a prime example as to how this simply isn’t true, Embolo has the ability to make his own space and weave through defences as if he were a foot shorter.
Also blessed with excellent pace, it appears there is hardly a fault in Embolo’s game, he has exquisite link-up play, often using his height to bring the ball down and play other team-mates in, as well as being able to drop deeper into a withdrawn striker position and create chances.
Embolo has immense passing ability, fitting very well with the quick ‘pass and move’ style that Basel adopt, his quality in distribution is evidenced by his 13 assists last season.
His movement off the ball is also of a very high calibre, finding space and beating off-side traps both appear second-nature to him.
This means Embolo can naturally play anywhere from centre-midfield to a target man, however he is best deployed as a striker, given his impressive goal return in his first season in top league football.
Despite this, it’ll be interesting to see how he develops as a player and in which role he’ll eventually settle into, however this versatility is a valuable skill-set to the young Swiss.
Given his great height, Embolo also possesses great physical strength and can be seen to hold off defenders and keep the ball very well, also a major advantage as a striker.
Like a previous feature on ‘Talent Watch’ he possesses a similar dribbling style to that of Paulo Dybala, extremely tight close control and being able to pass defenders with the ball appearing to ‘stick to his feet’, not too dissimilar from the great Lionel Messi.
A player deemed a ‘a great talent’ from team-mate and country-man Marco Streller, it’s clear that Breel-Donald Embolo has a very bright future ahead of him, and maybe we could see him emerge as one of Europe’s top strikers in years to come.