Eintracht Frankfurt have bolstered their attacking ranks with the signing of Randal Kolo Muani, with the young Frenchman following in the footsteps of a number of strikers to have previously lit up Germany's financial capital.
Randal Kolo Muani
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Country: France (three caps at Olympic Games)
Born 5 December 1998, Kolo Muani was a relative late bloomer in the modern world of academy football. It wasn't until November 2015, a month shy of his 17th birthday, that the teenager joined the youth ranks of Nantes having started out at Villepinte and then played for Tremblay-en-France from ages U11-U13 and Torcy from U14-U16. He would again have to bide this time for a chance in the first team but, after 13 goals in 38 appearances for the club's reserves, he finally made his professional debut with a 22-minute cameo against Saint-Etienne on 30 November 2018 - a full three years after he signed for the Canaries. By the time he closed out the 2018/19 campaign, the then 20-year-old Kolo Muani had six Ligue 1 matches under his belt but was still awaiting his first senior goal.
A loan spell at Bolougne in the French third division followed in 2019/20, where Kolo Muani was sent off twice in his first five appearances. He would go on to score three times and lay on five assists in 14 outings of a campaign that was brought to a premature end due to the global pandemic. He was back at Nantes the following season, scoring nine goals and providing eight more for his teammates. Kolo Muani's most important contribution came in the relegation playoff at the end of the 2020/21 season as he found the back of the net away to Toulouse - a strike that ultimately saw Nantes stay up on goal-difference over the two-legged tie. He improved on that record in 2021/22, notching up 12 league goals before signing a five-year deal with Frankfurt in March 2022. Before then, Kolo Muani left Nantes with a French cup winners' medal.
Kolo Muani made his France U21 debut in October 2020 and scored his first goal a month later in a 3-1 win over Switzerland. He now has seven U21 caps to his name and was called up to his country's squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that took place in the summer of 2021. Kolo Muani played in all three of France's matches, providing assists against Mexico and South Africa. It wasn't enough to prevent Les Blues' exit at the Group Stage, though.
Plays a bit like: Thierry Henry
Much like Kolo Muani, legendary France striker Henry started his career by impressing with his pace and trickery out wide before being repurposed as a centre-forward. Both players also clock in around the 6'2" mark and cut very similar, rangy figures.
Kolo Muani also has a languid dribbling style and immense turn of speed that were hallmarks of Henry's game - especially at a young age - and he bears similar strength on the ball and a cheekiness to his play that will leave Bundesliga defenders both in his wake and cutting frustrated figures.
Did you know?
Kolo Muani's family are from Congo but he was born in Bondy, a town in the northeastern suburbs of the French capital. It is in this same place that Kylian Mbappe - who was born just 15 days after Kolo Muani - grew up, while Bondy has also produced fellow France internationals Jonathan Ikone and William Saliba.
He has gone on to outshine Mbappe on a number of occasions, picking up three wins over Paris Saint-Germain in five meetings during his time with Nantes, while scoring three goals and collecting an assist in the process when up against his fellow Bondy-native's star-studded outfit.
What they're saying
"Randal Kolo Muani brings attributes that we need for our game. He’s fast, robust and a very good finisher. He’s also tactically versatile and can play in several different systems, which will give us even more flexibility next season. Randal’s potential has attracted the interest of many clubs. We’re very pleased that he wants to take his next steps at Eintracht Frankfurt." - Eintracht board member for sport Markus Krösche
"My father and my brother pushed me to start playing football when I was six or seven. My brother was a defender. It's sort of because of him that I'm a forward. It undoubtedly comes from the fact that I used to enjoy dribbling past him!" - Kolo Muani on how his brother was his first opponent
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