Smart Transfers: Eintracht Frankfurt

As the winter transfer window has drawn to a close, we will use Smarterscout’s advanced metrics and league benchmarking to assess the transfer business of selected teams that caught our eye.

Following a decent start to the season under new head coach Dino Toppmöller, Eintracht Frankfurt were active this January as they made six signings spending close to €24 million in transfer fees. Their aim seems to be to strengthen their European bid for this season as well as plan for the future with some young signings.

Their work was focused more on the attacking side of their squad as they have a mid-table goal-scoring return despite currently standing 6th in the table.

Jean-Mattéo Bahoya (from Angers)

Teenage winger Jean-Mattéo Bahoya was Frankfurt’s only permanent attacking signing of this window. He only started featuring in senior football around a year ago and got limited minutes for Angers in Ligue 2, so there is little to go by when it comes to assessing his current ability,

The young Frenchman certainly has the potential to grow into a good Bundesliga player, and our model has liked what little it has seen of his link-up passing especially. €8m is a fairly hefty fee to spend on a youngster in January, but it could well come good for the Eagles in the long run.

Hugo Ekitiké (on loan from Paris Saint-Germain)

Moving on to their other attacking signings, Hugo Ekitiké’s loan with an option to buy is a prime example of a signing with the potential to have a crucial short and long-term impact.

As we assessed at the time this move was announced, the young Frenchman has the right qualities to fit into a fluid Frankfurt attack despite the lack of game time he got at PSG.

Donny van de Beek (on loan from Manchester United)

Donny van de Beek is a similar signing too as he too joined Frankfurt on loan with an option to buy.

He has seriously struggled for game time since leaving Ajax for Manchester United as he barely featured for the Red Devils and endured a rather unsuccessful loan spell at Everton.

He was an excellent attacking midfielder at Ajax as he showed incredible intelligence with his off-ball positioning and link-up passing to continuously get into dangerous positions, from where he could easily produce attacking output.

Such mental attributes are tough to lose, so if he gets the right environment around him in Frankfurt, all parties will hope to see him back to his best.

Saša Kalajdžić (on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Saša Kalajdžić joined Eintracht Frankfurt on a simple loan deal for the rest of the season, so his signing seems to be aimed at adding a different profile of striker to the squad.

Frankfurt have done a decent job in the first half of the season in the absence of a proper focal point up top, so the tall Kalajdžić should offer a different option when it comes to the team’s attacking approach.

The Eagles have taken a bit of a gamble here nevertheless as the Austrian striker only recently recovered from a long-term ACL injury, so they will hope to see him find his form quickly and deliver when called upon.

Nathaniel Brown (from FC Nürnberg)

Frankfurt have also made two defensive signings, though both players have stayed where they were on loan.

The first of those was left-back Nathaniel Brown from FC Nürnberg for €3m. Our model has flagged the youngster as a player to watch in what is his breakout season in the 2. Bundesliga, but it does not believe he is entirely ready to make the step up to the top-flight in Germany just yet.

The 20-year-old full-back has stood out with his dribbling going forward and offered very good defending quality, so he just needs a little more polishing as far as his on-ball work is concerned. Eintracht Frankfurt will hope to see that in the second half of this season.

Aurèle Amenda (from Young Boys)

The most expensive winter signing for Eintracht Frankfurt this year was Aurèle Amenda, who joined from Swiss champions Young Boys in a deal worth almost eight figures.

After starting to break into the squad last season, the right-footed center-back has seen his minutes split on either side of the back line this season. Such versatility, in addition to his high-volume defending, is definitely something his new employers will appreciate.

Amenda can also be a great dribbler on the ball as he loves to step forward into space, so he seems better suited to a back-three system where he can play with fewer restraints. Toppmöller has been quite flexible when it comes to formations, so he should be trusted to get the best out of the youngster when he starts training under him this summer.


It is tough to find any major faults in Eintracht Frankfurt’s business this winter.

They have taken the opportunities that have presented themselves as far as signing young players for the future is concerned, while also strengthening their current squad in the process. The loans with buy options for Ekitiké and Van de Beek are perfect as they get the chance to sign very talented players for relatively lower fees should things go well, and at worst get away with just having paid their salaries and some loan fees for half a season where their attack did need some depth and strengthening anyway.

With an exciting young head coach backed by forward-thinking decision-makers and a strong-looking recruitment department, Eintracht Frankfurt certainly seem to be heading in the right direction.


By Neel Shelat

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