Soumaila Coulibaly will leave the Paris Saint-Germain youths for Borussia Dortmund in the summer. - © Borussia Dortmund
Soumaila Coulibaly will leave the Paris Saint-Germain youths for Borussia Dortmund in the summer. - © Borussia Dortmund

Who is Soumaila Coulibaly: Borussia Dortmund's latest young French defender?


The next young defender to swap Paris Saint-Germain and France for Germany and the Bundesliga, Soumaila Coulibaly has followed in the footsteps of Dan-Axel Zagadou in joining Borussia Dortmund. help you find out who the 17-year-old centre-back is...

Soumaila Coulibaly

Age: 17
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: Centre-back
Country: France (two U16 caps)

Key stats

Coulibaly hails from the fertile football turf of the Ile de France, the region around Paris that has turned out top-class players such as Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba, as well as those who have made the Bundesliga their home in recent years such as Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman and Tanguy Nianzou, Bayer Leverkusen's Moussa Diaby, RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku and new Dortmund teammate Zagadou.

After coming through the club in his home town of Montfermeil - some 15.5 miles to the east of central Paris - Coulibaly joined PSG's youth academy in summer 2019.

Like in so many other areas, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on football, and France's junior category leagues as well as the UEFA Youth League have been either suspended for most of the season or completely cancelled. This has severely restricted Coulibaly's time on the pitch in competitive games since the start of the 2019/20 campaign.

But the teenager stepped up to train with Thomas Tuchel's first-team squad - Mbappe, Neymar et al - as a 16-year-old early in the 2020/21 campaign and continued to do so along with a small elite group of youngsters cherry-picked from the academy after Mauricio Pochettino took charge in early 2021.

An ACL injury sustained in training in mid-February means Coulibaly's 2020/21 season is already over, but when he returns to the pitch, he'll be a Dortmund player.

Plays a bit like: Dayot Upamecano

At 6'2" Coulibaly has an imposing build, but while the teenager will undoubtedly fill out to add muscle to his wiry frame, he also has the footballing ability to make him the complete package, just like Leipzig's man-mountain with the silken touch.

Watch: Upamecano's journey to the top

The lessons Coulibaly will have learned from trying to keep some of the game's best forwards in check on the PSG training pitch will stand him in good stead in the Bundesliga where Upamecano, who will join Bayern next summer, has established himself as a major force. The new BVB starlet has every chance - and attribute required - to follow him.

What perhaps makes Coulibaly particularly interesting for Dortmund and their fans is that he is a left-footed centre-back, something Die Schwarzgelben have in rare commodity at this current time, with only fellow countryman Zagadou being another option.

Did you know?

When Coulibaly stepped up to first-team training with PSG, he was taken under the wing of another homegrown talent, FIFA World Cup winner Presnel Kimpembe. "Presnel is left-footed like me," Coulibaly said. "I can only try to follow his example."

What they're saying

"I'm grateful for my time at PSG, but there is the right step for me. I had other offers from other club, but I knew straight away that Dortmund was the right choice for me." - Coulibaly himself

"I had offers from other clubs, but when I first spoke to the BVB officials, I knew straight away that this was the right club for me. I can't wait to get started at my new club." - Coulibaly on signing for BVB