Mitchel Bakker has joined Bayer Leverkusen from PSG on a four-year contract. - © FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images
Mitchel Bakker has joined Bayer Leverkusen from PSG on a four-year contract. - © FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Who is Mitchel Bakker, Bayer Leverkusen's Dutch left-back signed from PSG?


Bayer Leverkusen's new left-back Mitchel Bakker already has Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain on his CV, but what else is there to know about the young Dutchman?

Mitchel Bakker

Age: 21
Position: Left-back
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Country: Netherlands (U21 cap)

Key stats

Born in Purmerand, a city in North Holland in June 2000, Bakker is the son of former Ajax, Groningen and Haarlem winger Edwin Bakker, who hung up his boots in 1990. Like his father before him, he was soon making the half-hour drive south to Amsterdam, joining Ajax's fabled youth academy at the age of 10.

After working his way up through their age group teams and concluding his youth career with a Dutch second-tier title with Jong Ajax in 2018, it seemed only a matter of time before Bakker would make his top-flight debut at the Johan Cruyff Arena. But PSG had other ideas.

The nine-time French champions signed Bakker as a promising prospect in 2019, but when fellow left-back Juan Bernat suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament on the opening day of last season, former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel - now a UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea - made him his first choice in the position ahead of Layvin Kurzawa.

Although his playing time cooled down after Mauricio Pochettino succeeded Tuchel in the PSG dugout, Bakker nonetheless concluded the 2020/21 campaign with 40 appearances in all competitions to his name.

His two assists last term are the story of a player still working on his final delivery after getting into dangerous attacking areas, although his three provisions in six games for the Dutch U21s in 2020 suggest the young Bakker has it in him.

Bakker (r.) previously seemed happy alongside Neymar (l.) and Co. at PSG under Thomas Tuchel. - FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Play a bit like: Marcel Halstenberg

He may stand at 6'1"-tall and have the physical profile of a centre-back, but Bakker likes to get up and down the left flank, his anticipation, quick control and turn of pace making him an attacking asset moments after winning back possession.

The fact Bakker could be used on the left of a three or as a wing-back in a 3-4-3, as well as in his natural slot on the left of a back four, should come in useful to new Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane next season, and is reminiscent of RB Leipzig and Germany defender Marcel Halstenberg.

Did you know?

Bakker shares a hometown with Martin Koeman, the father of current Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman and his elder brother Erwin, all of whom were full internationals for the Netherlands during their playing careers.

Purmerend may only have a population of 80,000, but fellow professional footballers Olaf Lindenbergh, Yuri Rose, Edwin Zoetebier and Mitchell Dijks were all born there, as was Killien Jungen, the Cannes striker who also happens to be Bakker's cousin.

Mitchel Bakker is from the same region of the Netherlands as current Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman (r.). - LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

What they're saying

"[Joining Leverkusen] is an opportunity to take the next step at an attractive club. The overall package from Leverkusen convinced me. The sporting management did a lot to get me and the conversations were very productive. The club is ambitious and so am I. That goes well together." - Bakker on swapping PSG for Leverkusen

"Mitchel Bakker combines athletic qualities such as pace and strength in challenges with footballing ability. He is a modern full-back with a strong desire to get forward and he'll help our team." - Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Völler