Bright Arrey-Mbi: Who is Bayern Munich's 18-year-old centre-back "beast" who started in the Champions League?
Bright Arrey-Mbi was the youngest member of Bayern Munich’s mid-season training camp in Qatar in 2019 at just 16 years old, and immediately impressed teammates Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba. It appears the future's Bright, the future's Arrey-Mbi...
bundesliga.com shines a spotlight on the latest Bayern U19 to be given a first team break by coach Hansi Flick and described as a physical marvel by Kimmich.
Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Germany (9 caps for U17s), England (8 caps U15s)
Born 26 March, 2003, Arrey-Mbi was one of six Bayern players in the squad taken to Doha by Flick to have been born this side of the new millennium. Like Y2K, Flick has brought about a brave new world at Bayern, with youngsters such as Joshua Zirkzee and Alphonso Davies thriving under his stewardship. And now, just over a year on from signing for the 28-time Bundesliga champions, Arrey-Mbi is being given the opportunity to further his development alongside the likes of multiple Meisterschale winners Thomas Müller, Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer.
Arrey-Mbi has earned his opportunity on the back of impressive performances for Bayern's U19s last term, helping the eldest of the junior teams to the top of the Bundesliga U19 table after 19 rounds of match, before the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. With Arrey-Mbi in the side, Bayern U19s kept six clean sheets in his 14 league startts, with the centre-back also contributing two goals to the cause along the way. Arrey-Mbi helped bag Bayern a further four clean sheets from their six unbeaten UEFA Youth League group games that helped secure qualification to the knockout stages of last season’s tournament.
He was promoted to the reserve side for 2020/21 but has only made four appearances in the third division so far owing to a torn muscle fibre, but has impressed first-team boss Hansi Flick enough to be rewarded with a place in the starting line-up for Bayern's UEFA Champions League Group A Matchday 5 encounter away to Ateltico Madrid.
Plays a bit like: Jerome Boateng
When you think of Arrey-Mbi, think Boateng with a left-foot. At just 17, the teenager is already similar in both stature and physique to his 3w-year-old, seven-time Bundesliga winning teammate. That is some statement when you consider the 15-year age gap between the two but is also testament to the incredible physical maturity of this teenager.
The similarities don't stop there, though, with Arrey-Mbi developing into a fine footballer too. If he can pick up the quarter-back tendencies of Boateng in training, he will only get better and better with the ball at his feet.
Did you know?
While Arrey-Mbi has been capped at both U16 and U17 level for Germany, he first tasted international football at youth level with England. Despite being born in Kaarst, a town just outside of Düsseldorf, Arrey-Mbi found his break in professional football at English Premier League side Norwich. He spent a season in the Canaries' academy before moving to Chelsea in 2014, where Arrey-Mbi spent five years with the Blues before Bayern came calling.
What they’re saying
"He's fitted in well in training. His athleticism and his understanding of the game are already very far ahead. We had two tactical training units and he didn't play a single high ball as a central defender. I noticed that and I see a lot of potential in him." - Bayern teammate David Alaba.
"Bright is already a beast. You can tell that he uses every muscle on his body. It surprised me in training that he's not shy at all. He really goes into challenges and has a certain calmness on the ball." - Fellow Bayern man Joshua Kimmich.
"With Jamal and Bright, we've secured two hopeful talents for our youth teams. We're convinced of their qualities and their potential for development and hope they settle in quickly to life at the Campus." - Jochen Sauer, head of FC Bayern Campus after signing Mbi and Jamal Musiala from Chelsea.
Why the 100th Revierderby promises to be a thriller
Schalke are fighting relegation, Dortmund are bidding for top honours - both are in fine form...
Frankfurt vs. Bochum: team news
Can Randal Kolo Muani fire Frankfurt back to winning ways at home to Bochum?
Match Facts Analysis: Der Klassiker
Ahead of this weekend's not-to-be-missed fixture, we break down the stats to see who has an edge and where.