Mathys Tel, 17, became the most expensive underage player in history when he moved from Rennes to Bayern Munich for around 30 million euros, including bonuses. A bet from the German champion, who bet big on the very promising striker, but never started last season in Ligue 1 (seven appearances). A record and symbolic transfer since it tells all by itself what football has become, between this fair for players programmed to go very high very early and the opportunistic strategy of the big clubs, in search of ever younger players. Back on this mini-series, with the reaction of Olivier Cloarec, the executive president of the Breton club.
Football may have tipped into another dimension again this summer, at the same time as Mathys Tel entered the big leagues. The striker, 17 years old since April and no professional tenure on the clock, moved from Stade Rennes to Bayern Munich as part of a record transfer, the compensation for which should amount to around 30 million euros, bonus included, accompanied by a substantial resale incentive, according to our information. Unheard of for a minor player – the arrivals of Rodrygo and Vinícius Júnior, recruited for 45 million euros each, having been effective at their majority due to Brazilian regulations on the transfer of players under 18 -, with a larger sum than that paid by Borussia Dortmund in Birmingham in July 2020 to afford Jude Bellingham (25 million euros), who had also just celebrated his 17th birthday.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) July 26, 2022
The two clubs ended the mini-series on Tuesday, two days after a message posted by the striker on Instagram to announce his departure from Rennes, his training club, in which he thanks the SRFC, his coaches, his teammates and even the Pinault family, before specifying that a “page turns” . The one written in Brittany will not have been very long or flamboyant, in any case not at the highest level. Last summer, Tel beat Eduardo Camavinga’s precocity record when he came into play in Brest, becoming the youngest player from the Breton club to show up in Ligue 1, at 16 years, 3 months. and 18 days, and signed his first professional contract in stride. So much for the history books and for the sporting trace left at Stade Rennes, where Tel did not have time to shine or reveal himself to the general public. Everything happened very quickly, from the first information at the beginning of July making him “priority” from rekordmeister on his arrival in Bavaria under the flashes of some photographers this Monday. This transfer, which turns out to be a winner for all parties, tells a lot about the world of football, between the new fashion for players programmed very early for the top level and the strategy of the biggest European clubs, in search of ever more talent. youth.
A jackpot, regrets and football things
Far from glitter and Germany, Mathys Tel had put on his red and black equipment for the last time last Thursday, at La Piverdière, the Rennes training center, in front of a few hundred supporters who came to attend a session in force. reduced the day after a friendly match in Caen (1-2) for which the 17-year-old player had not been summoned, after several days of absence due to illness, officially. Within the Breton club, there was no longer any real doubt that the kid, who arrived from Montrouge in the summer of 2020 to join the training center after signing a non-solicitation agreement with the SRFC from the age of 12. , in January 2018, was going to take the plunge.
“When you see a young person you have trained playing at Roazhon Park, it is a source of pride and a form of achievement. When this is not the case, it is bound to be disappointing. » Olivier Cloarec, executive president of Stade Rennes
After refusing three Bavarian offers, the Rennes leaders ended up reaching an agreement with their German counterparts over the weekend, while taking care to refine a few details of a fourth proposal. A very good financial deal for Rennes, coupled with the regrets of not having seen the nugget hatch on the road to Lorient. “The desire of a training club like Stade Rennes is that young people end up playing in the first team. This is the priority objectivespecifies Olivier Cloarec, executive president of the club. This comes to reward all the work done by educators, trainers, about whom we do not talk enough. When you see a young person you have trained playing at Roazhon Park, it is a source of pride and a form of achievement for them. When this is not the case, it is bound to be disappointing. Now, we also know that when there are clubs like Bayern who come to be interested in such players, it’s complicated to compete. »
A deal judged as ” extraordinary ” , in the literal sense of the term, internally, while Bayern perhaps expected less resistance from the side of Rennes, who insisted on imposing their conditions for the transfer to take place. The German champion has always seemed determined to enlist Tel, who was linked to the SRFC until 2024 and whose status as a minor player prevented possible competition from the English ogres due to the new rules imposed with Brexit. A boon for Bayern, which had sent a delegation, including sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić, to Ille-et-Vilaine at the start of last week to continue discussions with Olivier Cloarec and Florian Maurice. “Bayern’s interest does not annoy me, it shows that the club is working wellposed Bruno Genesio during a press briefing in Dinard after the first German approaches. If our youngsters are in demand, it’s because the Rennes team worked well and we did what was necessary to highlight it at professional level. I’m not surprised, because he’s an above average talent. I’m a coach, I obviously want to keep him, but that’s part of football. »
“We have a team that has done very well, scoring 82 league goals and 101 in all competitions. It’s not as if we had difficulties in attack, the competition was tough for Mathys. » Olivier Cloarec
Cracks in stock
The successor of Ousmane Dembélé and Eduardo Camavinga, the last two cracks to date out of the Bretillian nursery, did not however imitate them by shining in Rennes. The first flew over Ligue 1 for five daunting months in 2015-2016 (29 games, 12 goals, 5 assists) before heading to Dortmund then Barcelona; the second chained almost two full seasons (88 games, including a Champions League campaign) until his departure for Real Madrid at the end of the summer against just over 30 million euros. Tel, he will have had to settle for a few crumbs this season, making ten appearances in the Genesio team for just under 90 minutes of play, which still makes him the player born in 2005 the most used in the five major championships. The main interested party and his entourage would however have wanted more. “We have a team that has done very well, scoring 82 league goals and 101 in all competitionsrecalls Cloarec. Martin (Terrier) scored 21, Gaëtan (Laborde) 17 and Serhou (Guirassy) 12. It’s not like we had difficulties in attack, the competition was tough. » This question remains for the Breton club, very attached to training as DNA: will the talents of tomorrow also be destined to imitate the trajectory of Mathys Tel? “There is this fearassumes the president of Rennes. Now it is measured, because the bar has been set very high. These are exceptional conditions that not everyone can meet. We will continue to train and make sure they play in the first team for a while. »
Mathys Tel, second from the top from the right, upgraded with the regional U13s of Paris FC during the 2016-2017 season
While the colony of young Rennais (Jeanüel Belocian, Lorenz Assignon, Warmed Omari, Lesley Ugochukwu, Loum Tchaouna, Matthis Abline or Désiré Doué, 17 years old and very prominent during the preparation) will try to find a place in the first team, Mathys Tel will continue his progress and his dream on the other side of the Rhine, where he signed up for five years with Bayern. An almost logical continuation for a player ” on a mission ” from a very young age, according to Reda Bekhti, his educator at Paris FC, where he was outclassed, as everywhere, and played rather central defender or midfielder for “develop other characteristics” at a time when major French clubs (Monaco, Paris) were already keeping an eye on the little phenomenon. Stade Rennes had also had to resist competition from RB Leipzig and FC Barcelona in the summer of 2020 when it was time to welcome him (finally) to its training center after having seen him play in a few youth tournaments under the red and black tunic. Tel, he has never changed course or given up, even when he was kicked out of INF Clairefontaine during his first year in the elite center in the Paris region for problems more related to schooling than in the field. Passed by Aubervilliers and Montrouge before leaving for Brittany, Tel continued to make a reputation in the French youth team. Last May, the striker was even the captain of the U17 crowned European champions.
“He could one day be one of the best strikers. I see him capable of scoring 40 goals in a season in the future. » Julian Nagelsmann, his new coach at Bayern
A place at Bayern?
These are not his few nondescript entries at Rennes, where he had sometimes seemed lost on the pitch at the start of the season, before missing his shot on goal against Nancy in the Coupe de France in January and showing some interesting things in a few minutes against in Strasbourg and Nantes, even failing to sign his first goal with the big boys without a good intervention from Matz Sels, who seduced Bayern. But rather the profile and the immense potential of the guy. If Genesio wanted to make him a place in the rotation this season, despite a well-stocked offensive sector, the rekordmeister also promised to integrate him into the group of Julian Nagelsmann and to offer him playing time in the middle of Sadio Mané, Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry or Thomas Müller. Tel’s luck? Since the departure of Robert Lewandowski, the professional numbers 9 have been called Joshua Zirkzee (21) and … Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. “I have always said that he would not stay in Rennes for long given his characteristicsassures Reda Bekhti. But I imagined him more in midfield, in the position of number 8. He has now acquired very good qualities during his training to play up front, and I think the direct German style will suit him. »
His new coach is also convinced of this. This weekend, Nagelsmann took advantage of the friendly between his Bayern and Manchester City to sing the praises of his future foal: “He could one day be one of the best strikers. I see him capable of scoring 40 goals in a season in the future. That’s our plan anyway. He’s not Lewy’s direct replacement, that’s normal at his age. If he scores ten goals this season, we will all be happy. » As the appearances go by, the comparisons should start to bloom. Those with Kylian Mbappé, of course. Those also with Tanguy Kouassi, free party from PSG in the summer of 2020 to sign at Bayern, where he failed to win after two seasons (28 appearances, around 1000 minutes of play), or Kingsley Coman, landed in Bavaria at the age of 18 in 2015 after twenty professional matches with PSG and Juventus. Everyone has their own story, Mathys Tel must still write his own on the pitch, this time, so that his career is not just about a resounding transfer.
By Clement Gavard
All remarks collected by CG, except mentions.