Castello Lukeba is the newest French kid on the block at RB Leipzig. - © Imago
Castello Lukeba is the newest French kid on the block at RB Leipzig. - © Imago

Castello Lukeba: Who is RB Leipzig's new French defender with shades of Josko Gvardiol?


Hopes are high that Castello Lukeba can emulate Josko Gvardiol at RB Leipzig. profiles the highly rated French youngster...

Stats correct as of 11 August 2023

Castello Lukeba 

Age: 20 (born 17 December 2002)
Club: RB Leipzig
Position: Centre-back
Country: France (10 U21 caps)

Key stats

Lukeba was one of the standout defenders in France's Ligue 1 in 2022/23. Making 33 starts for Lyon, the left-footed centre-back was in the top 99th percentile for interceptions and top 89th for passes completed. Impressively, it was only his second full season in the top flight, the 6'0" youngster having made his senior bow in August 2021.

Lukeba helped Lyon record 12 clean sheets in his 58 Ligue 1 outings, including a 1-0 win over a Paris Saint-Germain team boasting Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi on 2 April 2023. Signed to a five-year contract at Leipzig in July 2023, he has also become a mainstay for the France U21s, winning 10 caps since debuting in March 2022.

Plays a bit like: Josko Gvardiol

As well as being a very modern left-sided central defender, Lukeba's reading of the game, timing in the tackle, physicality and ability to distribute the ball from the back are reminiscent of a certain Gvardiol. Good news for Leipzig, given the Croatia international's rise from hot prospect to world-class centre-back in his short time at the Red Bull Arena.

Did you know?

Lukeba is a product of Lyon's acclaimed youth academy, once home to the likes of Karim Benzema, former Bayern Munich World Cup-winning midfielder Corentin Tolisso and Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Alassane Plea.

Lukeba (r.), pictured here against Lionel Messi (l.), has been described as a 'generational talent'. - Imago

What they're saying

"He is left footed and can play as a left-sided centre-back in both a back-three and a back-four. Castello’s main strengths are his tough-tackling nature, his pace, his positioning and how good he is on the ball." - Max Eberl, Leipzig's managing director for sport. 

"He's a real talent with real potential." - former Lyon head coach Peter Bosz, who handed Lukeba his Ligue 1 debut.

"I’m joining an exciting team and a club with lots of ambition. RB Leipzig stands for a particular style of football and for a constant upward journey. This is a great place for young players to develop at the highest level, as a number of French players have already proven in the past." - Lukeba speaks during his unveiling at Leipzig.