Peter Bosz inspired Bayer Leverkusen to a late surge into the UEFA Champions League last season with the tools he inherited from his predecessor Heiko Herrlich, but this summer he has had the opportunity to strengthen the squad to fit his own philosophy.
bundesliga.com looks at how three of Leverkusen's summer signings should reinforce a team which was already showing signs of positive progress under Bosz late last season.
Nationality: Germany (2 caps/1 goal)/Turkey (U21 cap)
Position: Central midfielder
Signed from: Hoffenheim
Story so far: After playing for seven different clubs at various levels of German football since the start of his career, Kerem Demirbay finally found his feet at the heart of Hoffenheim's midfield, the club he joined from Hamburg in 2016. He came to the eye of then Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann after firing in ten goals in 25 Bundesliga 2 games while on loan at Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2015/16. It was certainly time for him to step up to the Bundesliga, and Nagelsmann moulded him more into the advanced playmaker we know today. While he has not broken into double digits in terms of goals in Germany's top flight, his growing number of assists tells the tale of the creative player this midfield dynamo has become.
Role next season: Bosz's attack-minded philosophy is almost tailor-made for Demirbay, and vice-versa. With Bosz demanding his players switch to attack in the blink of an eye, the industrious Demirbay – who has outstanding statistics in terms of ground coverage (6.9 miles per game last season) and pass success (83.4%) – is just the man the Dutch coach needed to take some of the attacking burden off Kai Havertz. Furthermore, with clubs focusing more and more on nullifying the threat of Havertz, Demirbay provides another effective outlet for Die Werkself's attacks. "Leverkusen play really attractive attacking football," said Demirbay after signing. "Their style suits mine and I'm really looking forward to becoming a part of this team."
Nationality: France (U20 cap)/Mali
Signed from: Paris Saint-Germain
Story so far: The pacy left-footed winger came through Paris Saint-Germain's youth system before having a spell in Italy's Serie A with Crotone, although he often found himself in their youth team rather than appearing in Italy's top flight. Following in the footsteps of Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman, Diaby returned to the French capital and held down a place in PSG's reserves before earning his big break among the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria last season. He made 25 appearances and scored two goals before shining for France at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland.
Role next season: "Moussa's an extremely quick, technically gifted attacker whose qualities are perfectly suited to our playing style," said Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes upon Diaby's arrival. Once again, he is a player who fits the Bosz identikit for a fast, agile and creative forward. "He's one of France's most talented players, and he's got the ideal conditions here in Leverkusen to develop into an absolutely top-class player." With Julian Brandt having left this summer to join Borussia Dortmund, Diaby may well be just the exciting winger they need to fill his boots. "Taking this step abroad to one of the best and most balanced leagues in Europe is really exciting. I'm very curious about Germany, especially the football and the amazing stadiums," Diaby told his new club's official website.
Nationality: Germany (U21)/Afghanistan
Position: Attacking midfielder
Signed from: Hoffenheim
Story so far: With already 106 Bundesliga appearances under his belt, that figure could have been even higher had he not missed most of the first half of last season through injury. He nevertheless recovered condition and form to become an integral member of Germany's U21 squad which lost out to Spain in the final in July, steering in three goals between the semi-final and final. A product of Kaiserslautern's academy, Amiri moved to Mannheim as a 15-year-old before being lured into Hoffenheim's youth system in 2012, rising through the ranks and making his debut at the age of 18 in a 3-0 defeat to Wolfsburg.
Role next season: With such an array of talented attacking players at his disposal, Bosz also needed to find some balance in his side, and this is where Amiri fits in. Sure, he has similar characteristics to Leverkusen's other signings, with his pace and quality in the transition, but he can sit just that little bit deeper and provide support to the front line when needed. "Thanks to his pace, determination, keen desire to get into the box and outstanding technical abilities, Nadiem Amiri is exactly the type of player we’ve been looking for," Rolfes said.
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