It's arguably the biggest transfer in the history of New Zealand football, but what exactly is the story with Bayern Munich newcomer Sarpreet Singh?
bundesliga.com heads down under to get the scoop on the All-White-hot talent...
Club: Bayern Munich (reserves)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: New Zealand (Four senior international caps, one goal)
Auckland boy Singh moved to Wellington Phoenix as a 15-year-old, initially playing for the club's Soccer School and Football Academy. He went on several overseas tours to countries like England, Germany and Japan, before earning regular minutes with the Phonenix reserves in the New Zealand Premiership.
The 5'7" playmaker got his first taste of senior football as a substitute in an A-League game against Melbourne City in February 2017. He scored his first pro goal a year later, and added a further three strikes to his tally - including a maiden career brace against Melbourne - before the 2017/18 season was out.
It has been a case of onwards and upwards ever since. Singh was a first-team staple in 2018/19, helping the Phoenix qualify for the A-League Series Finale with five goals and seven assists in 25 appearances. Already a seasoned international at youth level and a 2016/17 U20 Oceania Football Confederation Cup winner, he earned his first senior New Zealand cap in a March 2018 friendly with Canada, before opening his account for the All Whites in a 2-1 defeat to Kenya.
Plays a bit like: Mesut Özil
If you haven't seen Singh in action before, be sure to look him up on YouTube. Taking his propensity to float around in the final third almost unchecked, coupled with his ability to squeeze a pass through the tightest of spots or over dumbfounded opposition defenders with a deft flick of his left foot, it's hard to look further than ex-Schalke and Werder Bremen string-puller Mesut Özil for a comparison.
Did you know?
According to New Zealand media, Bayern first caught a glimpse of Singh's abilities when he played against one of the club's youth teams on a tour of Europe. He was just 11 at the time. Nine years on, he could become the first player of Indian descent and first from New Zealand to pull on the famous red shirt of Germany's record champions - and only the second Kiwi in Bundesliga history after former Kaiserslautern and Bremen striker Wynton Rufer.
What they're saying
"He understands how important it is that he does the right things day in, day out if he wants to see the best of himself." - former Phoenix head coach, Mark Rudan
"Clubs like Bayern Munich have high quality scouts, high quality youth development people, experts who search for players all around the world. They found Sarpreet's talent, recognised his quality and that's credit to Sarpreet. He's a special player." - Sarpreet's mentor and former Onehunga Sports coach, Hiroshi Miyazawa
"If you can sign with Bayern Munich, that's pretty special. They'll obviously have a plan where they believe he could work towards that plan and they could look to bring him into the first team after a few years. If he managed to play for the first team at Bayern that'd just be unbelievable, but it's possible. He's a very creative player. There's something special about the way he does play, and it's amazing that they've been able to see it." - Former New Zealand-born Bundesliga star Wynton Rufer
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