When Jadon Sancho departed Borussia Dortmund, it was time for a new hero to take centre stage at the Signal Iduna Park. Step forward free-flowing Dutch forward, Donyell Malen.
bundesliga.com has the lowdown on Dortmund's exciting recruit…
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: The Netherlands (13 caps/2 goals)
Malen was born to a Surinamese father and a Dutch mother in Wieringen, in the Netherlands. His footballing talent became apparent early on, and in 2008 - at the age of just nine - he moved to Ajax's vaunted academy. Although he played for all his country's youth sides and was scouted by a number of European clubs, Malen didn't believe he could make it into the Ajax first team.
So, in 2015, Malen made the move to English Premier League club Arsenal, joining the youth team at the age of 16. The young Dutch forward scored 44 times across two seasons in London, but before he could force his way into the first team, PSV Eindhoven brought him back to his home country.
Malen switched to PSV in 2017, where he has since contributed to 79 goals (55 goals, 24 assists) in 116 appearances. That move also saw him earn his first senior international caps for the Netherlands. He made his debut in November 2019 and made the most recent of his 13 appearances for his country at UEFA Euro 2020.
Plays a bit like: Thorgan Hazard
Malen is almost the complete package when you think of a modern-day forward. The 22-year-old has already shown he can operate across the pitch in any attacking position, most recently playing as a centre-forward at PSV - his preferred role.
Malen combines his incredible speed and technical ability on the ball with an eye for goal and aptitude for defensive work, which will only endear him to the Dortmund faithful.
Standing at 5'8", Malen is no big man up front, but rather a forward who prefers to run in behind to get defenders chasing him, or come short to link up with players around him.
Did you know?
Malen has learned from two of world football's finest forwards during his short career so far. He trained under Dennis Bergkamp in the Ajax U10s, while Thierry Henry was instrumental in his move to Arsenal, having been on the coaching staff of the U23s at the time.
What they're saying
"Donyell is extremely fast and very dangerous. If he has a chance, it's usually a goal, too. He's still young, but has really good abilities." - former Dortmund midfield and PSV teammate, Mario Götze.
"Donyell is a player with great attacking potential, who radiates danger in front of goals, brings in his creativity and has a high pace." - Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.
"I've seen all of Ronaldinho's matches from the past - regardless of whether it's for Brazil or Barcelona. My room was full of stuff about him and I did all of his tricks." - Malen
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