Borussia Dortmund have pipped Manchester United and Inter to the signing of France Under-16 international Kamal Bafounta.
Bafounta, a midfielder in the mould of Paul Pogba, has been on the books of Nantes but has been attracting attention from further afield for a while due to his formidable reputation in youth football.
Goal confirmed that three Champions League clubs had been vying for the 16-year-old’s signature, but Dortmund’s reputation for developing young talent meant that their offer held the most sway for Bafounta and his family.
He was in Lyon’s academy before joining Nantes and his commanding 6ft 3in presence in the centre of midfield earned him the Pogba comparisons.
It was at Dortmund that Bafounta’s countryman Ousmane Dembele established himself before moving to Barcelona for £97m in 2017.
They have also helped in the development of 18-year-old English starlet Jadon Sancho, who has made 12 Bundesliga appearances since he was snapped up from Manchester City’s academy last year.
However, Dortmund have promised to help Bafounta’s development by allowing him to grow as a youth player before transferring him to the first team.
Bafounta’s former coach Johan Renard said that Bafounta was a very mature player for his age, but he said that the Pogba comparisons weren’t entirely accurate.
“What is certain is that he is less extravagant than Pogba,” Renard said. “It’s not quite the same style of play either but I’m sure he has the ability to do as well as him. He is a very intelligent boy, polite, educated and very calm, I can’t even remember him getting angry.”
Bafounta has signed a three-year contract at the Westfalenstadion.