BERLIN (AP) – Borussia Dortmund faces the prospect of losing one of the most promising young forwards in Europe for nothing if the club can’t convince Youssoufa Moukoko to sign a new deal.
The 18-year-old Germany striker’s contract is up at the end of the season and Dortmund’s efforts to extend it have so far failed to yield agreement.
“We want to make the decision as soon as possible, of course. It’s important for everyone involved to have clarity,” Dortmund Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper this week.
Since January 1, Moukoko and his agent have been able to negotiate with other clubs without needing to notify Dortmund as he’s in the final six months of his contract.
Chelsea and Barcelona are reportedly interested, though there’s no doubt that other clubs are paying attention, too.
Moukoko is Dortmund’s top scorer in the Bundesliga this season with six goals from 14 appearances, mostly as a substitute. He also set up four.
Moukoko’s performances earned him a call-up from Germany Coach Hansi Flick for the World Cup, though he made only one late appearance at the tournament as the Germans made another early exit.
The teenager has long been considered one of the most exciting prospects in German football.
After joining Dortmund as an 11-year-old from Hamburg club St Pauli in 2016, Moukoko quickly rose to prominence by scoring at will despite playing against older players.
Moukoko was the top scorer for Dortmund’s under-15s when he was still 12, helping the team win the Regionalliga West title in 2017. It earned him a call-up for Germany’s under-16s. He played for Dortmund’s under-17s the following year, then the under-19s the year after that, when he was still 14.
Moukoko was scoring so many goals it prompted the Bundesliga to rewrite its rulebook by dropping its minimum age requirement from 17 to 16 in April 2020.
He duly became the youngest player ever to play in the Bundesliga one day after his 16th birthday when he came on for the final minutes of Dortmund’s 5-2 win at Hertha Berlin on November 21, 2020. Less than three weeks later, he became the youngest player to play in the Champions League.