VfB Stuttgart have completed the signing of 16-year-old striker Mohamed Sankoh from Stoke City on a five-year deal. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the Netherlands youth international, who reportedly turned down lucrative offers from Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in favour of a move to Germany...
Club: VfB Stuttgart (U19s)
Country: Netherlands (three U17 caps, one goal)
Born in the Netherlands but with familial roots in Sierra Leone, Sankoh announced himself in style at boyhood club Sparta Rotterdam. The 6'0" forward scored five goals in as many preliminary round Eredivisie U17 games, three in three in the U17s Eredivisie and a debut goal in his first and only outing in the U19s Eerste Divisie before journeying across the North Sea to join Stoke City in summer 2018. It was worth the trip: the Dutchman tallied six goals and as many assists in 10 appearances in that season's U18s English Premier League.
Sankoh flitted between the U18s and U23s in 2019/20, adding a further three goals and three assists to his haul for the former. In eight Premier League 2 appearances prior to the coronavirus-enforced hiatus - including four starts - he produced one assist. Although eligible to represent Sierre Leone, the natural right-footer appears to be a key part of the Netherlands' long-term plans. A former U16 international, Sankoh was the youngest member of the Oranje youth's 2019 UEFA European U17-winning team, featuring against France in the groups and Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Plays a bit like: Romelu Lukaku
Sankoh has earned rave reviews from fans, pundits and coaches across Europe, likening him to Inter Milan and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku. It's easy to see why. The Stuttgart youngster is a potent cocktail of raw power, pace and skill, and has a finely tuned nose for goal. The only difference is he does most of his damage on his favoured right side.
Did you know?
It's not only in a football sense that Sankoh has his head screwed on. Whilst taking the Stoke U18s by storm and ruffling the feathers of more experienced youngsters in the Premier League's reserve section, he still found time to study for his GCSEs - qualifications taken by teens in England, Northern Ireland and Wales to mark their graduation from the Key Stage 4 phase of secondary education.
What they're saying
"Mo is a very gifted attacking talent with real potential. We will work together to gradually introduce him to the senior team." - Thomas Krücken, Stuttgart academy manager
"He's an exciting player, who has knuckled down and developed well with us." - Gareth Owen, Stoke City academy director