The rise of Edmond Tapsoba may have been a sudden one, but the Burkina Faso international with more than a whiff of Jerome Boateng about him has already helped Bayer Leverkusen do what few other teams have: stop Erling Haaland twice.
bundesliga.com shines a spotlight on the new arrival at the BayArena that has made an instant impression at one of the league’s most in-form sides.
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Country: Burkina Faso (12 caps)
Born in his country's capital, Ouagadougou, on 2 February 1999, Tapsoba joined his first club Salitas as a 15-year-old back in 2014. He would spend one year with the team before moving to fellow hometown outfit US Ouagadougou but wouldn't make a first team appearance for either capital club before heading for Portugal as an 18-year-old. By then, Tapsoba was already a full international having made his Burkina Faso debut at just 17 years, six months and 22 days old in a friendly against Uzbekistan on 24 August 2016.
He initially signed for Leixoes in Portugal's second tier but would only be at the Estadio de Mar for a season before top-flight Vitoria Guimaraes came calling in 2018. Tapsoba featured 30 times for the club’s second string before being promoted to the first team at the start of 2019/20. From there, Tapsoba's rise has been a sudden one, going on to make 32 appearances for Vitoria before Leverkusen snapped up the 6'3" defender in January. He gained a reputation as a penalty expert, netting nine of his 16 goals from the spot for the reserves and first team prior to his move to the Bundesliga.
Peter Bosz showed no hesitation in throwing Tapsoba straight in at the deep end and he won't be forgetting his first Bundesliga appearance any time soon. In fact, the new Leverkusen man will be wondering what kind of wonderful footballing madness he has signed up to. His first taste of German football came in the thriller of a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund. After keeping Haaland quiet in that one, he repeated the feat in Leverkusen's 2-1 win against the Norway international's side on Matchday 17 this season.
Although he has the physical for the physical challenge of the Bundesliga - he's inside the top 20 for duels won and top 25 for aerial duels won league-wide this season - he is no mean performer with the ball at his feet. Only three players can better Tapsoba’s 92 per cent pass completion rate in the Bundesliga this season.
Plays a bit like: Jerome Boateng
Tapsoba has a remarkably similar build to Bayern Munich centre-back Boateng and the similarities don't stop there. Incredibly quick - allowing for exceptional recoveries - composed on the ball, ridiculously strong and with a penchant for raking diagonals: it all adds up. If Tapsoba can have even half the career of the eight-time Bundesliga champion, UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup winner, then Leverkusen have quite the player on their hands.
Did you know?
Tapsoba's role in the victory over Dortmund was notable for helping end Leverkusen's six-game winless run against BVB and securing Die Werkself’s first win over the Black and Yellows since 10 October 2016. More impressively on a personal note, though, is how Tapsoba managed to keep baby-faced assassin Haaland at bay. Despite his side conceding three goals, Tapsoba pocketed the Norwegian in a superb man-marking display that stopped Haaland from scoring for the first time as a Dortmund player.
Watch: Tapsoba keeps Haaland quiet on his Leverkusen debut
What they're saying
"His really big potential makes Edmond Tapsoba a very interesting proposition as a player. We are happy we've been able to complete this transfer." - Leverkusen managing director Rudi Völler.
"Edmond Tapsoba was a regular first choice at Guimaraes at the age of 20 and, in addition to his defensive ability, he’s also dangerous in front of goal." - Bayer sporting director Simon Rolfes.
"Edmond did very well against Dortmund, and if you saw him against Union then you could hardly believe he’s only been with us for a few weeks." - Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz.