Munas Dabbur has inherited the No.10 shirt previously worn by Roberto Firmino, among others, at Hoffenheim.
History suggests that’s not all Hoffenheim’s marquee winter signing has in common with the now Liverpool and Brazil talisman, as bundesliga.com finds out…
Country: Israel (21 caps, seven goals)
Nazareth-born Dabbur has already played top-flight football in four different countries. After breaking onto the scene in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv, producing 23 goals and nine assists in 78 competitive appearances, the 5'10" forward spent three years in Switzerland at Grasshopper Zurich. He finished 2015/16 - his fifth full season as a professional - as the Raiffeisen Super League’s top scorer on 19 goals, but even better was to come across the border with Red Bull Salzburg.
Having hit 56 goals and 28 assists in 105 games for Grasshopper, Dabbur fired Salzburg to three successive Austrian Bundesliga titles and two Austrian Cups, adding to the pair of Israeli Premier League crowns he won back at Tel Aviv. He finished top scorer twice, courtesy of 22- and 20-goal tallies, and was voted 2018/19 Player of the Season before joining Sevilla in summer 2019. The Israel international registered three goals and two assists in nine appearances for Los Nervionenses, compared to 72 and 31 in 128 games in Salzburg colours.
Plays a bit like: Roberto Firmino
Depending on your level of mental arithmetic, you may have noticed Dabbur assists roughly as many as he scores. Firmino’s ratio across his 153 pre-Liverpool appearances for Hoffenheim was marginally better, but the similarities don’t stop at end product. Like Firmino, Dabbur allies the the touch and grace of a much smaller man with a pair of nifty - but not for nifty’s sake - feet. His somewhat under-appreciated talents could also work in his favour in the Bundesliga, where Firmino went from mercurial to mega in under five years.
Watch: Roberto Firmino's top 5 Bundesliga goals
Did you know?
Dabbur is set to become the ninth Israeli to play in the Bundesliga. Shmuel Rosenthal, who made 13 top-flight appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1972/73, was the first - as well as the first of his countrymen to join a European club. Ilay Elmkies could take the total count into double figures. The 19-year-old midfielder, reportedly on Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola's radar, is a product of the Hoffenheim youth academy, and currently plays for the Sinsheim outfit’s U19s in Germany’s fourth tier. Together with Dabbur, they could become only the third Israeli pairing to line up in the same Bundesliga team after Gal Alberman and Roberto Colautti (Gladbach, 2008/09), and Itay Shechter and Gil Vermouth (Kaiserslautern, 2011/12).
What they're saying
"Moanes is a special player. With his potential and experience he’s going to be a real boon for us." - Hoffenheim head coach, Alfred Schreuder
"Moanes is a top-class striker - he’s agile, quick to react, has good timing and technique and is a real goal threat." - Hoffenheim sporting director, Alexander Rosen
"He’s got quality, he’s strong, and is getting better every year. He scores a lot of goals, is a character in the dressing room, and has a very good personality." - Ex-Israel international goalkeeper Dudu Aouate