From the same youth academy as James Rodriguez; compared to Didier Drogba; signed to replace Anthony Modeste… but Cologne’s new target man Jhon Cordoba wants to dine on nobody’s reputation but his own…
The Billy Goats have made a big statement of intent in this summer's transfer market. Jorge Mere and Joao Queiros have come in to bolster the defence, but Colombian striker Cordoba is their marquee signing and the man earmarked to plug the gap left by 25-goal Modeste. Cordoba doesn’t see himself as the next Modeste, though. He’s in Cologne to do it his way.
It’s been a scenic journey for Cordoba despite being just three months past his 24th birthday. Raised in the small town of Istmina in western Colombia, he graduated from the same youth academy as new Bayern Munich star James at Envigado in Medellin before landing in Germany in 2015 via Mexico and Spain.
Watch: Cordoba delighted with James' arrival in Germany
It was at Mainz, in the company of club legend and fellow Colombian Elkin Soto, that the 6ft. 1in. striker really found his feet. “I’d seen Bundesliga matches on TV before and I liked the idea of coming here,” Cordoba said during Cologne’s summer training camp in Austria.
After two seasons there, which included a Europa League campaign and a match-winning goal over Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, Cordoba – nicknamed the “Colombian Drogba” due to their shared physical attributes – has now made the short move down the Rhine river to Cologne.
With Modeste leaving on a two-year loan deal to Chinese outfit Tianjin Quanjian, Cordoba is seen as the man to lead the line for Cologne. Comparisons between the attacking specimens are therefore unavoidable. Modeste enjoyed by far the most prolific season of his career last term, netting 25 times in 32 Bundesliga games. Cordoba arrives with just five from 29 matches last season, but he feels no burden on his shoulders.
Watch: Cordoba snatched a late winner at Bayern in 2016!
“I never had pressure on me at Mainz. I know that Modeste scored plenty of goals but I’m here to be myself and do it my way, so there’s no pressure on me there,” the 24-year-old asserted. “I want to score a lot of goals, though. If I can do that then the team should finish in a good position, and hopefully even better than last season.”
Modeste may leave big boots to fill, but one would expect Cordoba to slip comfortably into them with Cologne. The Colombian’s arrival means coach Peter Stöger still has a big target man up front who will fit easily into the Billy Goats’ 4-4-2 formation, with Konstantin Rausch and Marcel Risse the men tasked with pumping the ball into the box from the wings.
“Feed the Drog and he will score” was what they used to say about Drogba. If Cordoba emulates the Ivorian and Modeste in the way expected at the RheinEnergieStadion, it figures to be the fans feasting on goals in 2017/18…