Union Berlin have signed the Swiss Super League's top scorer in Chris Bedia, but what else is there to know about the hulking Ivorian striker?
Data correct as of 19 January 2024
Age: 27 (born 5 March 1996)
Club: Union Berlin
Country: Ivory Coast (capped to U23 level)
Key stats and facts
Bedia joins as a striker in red-hot form, one who is a nominal replacement for the Real Sociedad-bound Sheraldo Becker, but stylistically quite different from the Dutch former vice captain.
Bedia was the Swiss Super League's top scorer at the midway point of the season, with 10 goals from 17 appearances, 14 of them starts, and he weighed in with another six strikes and three assists across all competitions, which included goals against Rangers and Roma in Europe.
The Abidjan-born man has been prolific since he joined Servette from Charleroi two years ago, but he has taken the tourist route to the top.
He was a youth international teammate of Franck Kessié, and the pair were crowned African U17 champions with the Ivory Coast in 2013, but while Kessié went on to represent AC Milan and Barcelona at club level, Bedia spent much of the next decade bouncing around the lower reaches of French and Belgian football.
A Tours academy graduate, he joined Charleroi in 2016 but was farmed out on loan to Zulte Waregem, Troyes and Sochaux before finally finding his feet at Servette. To say he has been making up for lost time since would be a significant understatement.
Plays a bit like: Kevin Behrens
Bedia is an intimidating presence for opposition centre-backs, with a physically imposing yet svelte 6'3" frame and impressive speed both with and without the ball. The vast majority of his goals come from inside the box, from where he is just as capable of finishing with his head as he is on his stronger left foot.
Bedia is also a penalty-taker, so clearly a confident player who likes to stay among the goals, but there is a selfless streak to his game, with a willingness to press from the front as well as the ability and awareness to hold up the ball and play in a teammate if he is in a better position.
Becker may have freed up the squad space for Bedia, but he is significantly more similar to Kevin Behrens, who won his first Germany cap under Julian Nagelsmann at the start of the season, but who must now be looking over his shoulder.
Did you know?
Union did well to win the race for Bedia's signature, with transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano posting on X (formerly Twitter) less than two weeks prior to the striker's move to Berlin about interest from Premier League side Wolves, Bologna of Serie A, as well as Werder Bremen.
With 28 goals in the calendar year, Bedia was perhaps bound to be scouted by clubs far and wide, and Union can be pleased with an impressive piece of business.
What they're saying
"It's always been a dream for me to play in one of the big leagues. At Union Berlin, I'm now part of a club steeped in history that inspires many people. I want to help the team with my strengths and support them every day with my ambition, and hope to be able to contribute a few goals to their success and help Union stay in the league." - Bedia on his ambitions for the season
"Chris is a big and powerful offensive player who can help us in attack with his physicality and goal threat. He's a very positive guy who comes to us with a lot of joy and drive and we're really looking forward to him." - Union sporting director Oliver Ruhnert
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