Eintracht Frankfurt threw a major curve ball by signing Kevin-Prince Boateng prior to the start of the Bundesliga season. The 30-year old former Ghanaian International came on a free from La Liga side Las Palmas, signing with Frankfurt until 2020. We take a look at what Boateng offers to manager Niko Kovač and how he can help Eintracht through his return season to the Bundesliga.
Born: March 6, 1987 (30)
Position: Attacking Midfield
Height: 6ft, 1in
Transfermarkt.com value: €5 million
Previous Clubs: Reinickendorfer Füchse, Hertha BSC Yth, Hertha BSC U19, Hertha BSC II, Hertha Berlin, Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Portsmouth, Genoa, AC Milan, Schalke & Las Palmas
A journeyman in every sense of the word, Boateng has had a long spanning career within Europe’s elite but the biggest question mark with Prince is his longevity at a singular club. From the nine professional clubs, Boateng has spent no longer than two years at any one club with Schalke being his longest home throughout his 13-year professional career.
Boateng is coming off a career best year for Las Palmas in La Liga scoring 10 goals and producing 5 assists in 29 appearances in all competitions. His best seasons statistically prior to that where the 2011/12 season for AC Milan with 8 goals and 6 assists and his first season with Schalke 2013/14, scoring 7 and 4 assists. Can Boateng maintain last seasons form and help Frankfurt up to the top half of the table?
How Boateng fits the Frankfurt System?
Eintracht Frankfurt manager Niko Kovač has utilised a variety of systems at his time in the Bundesliga and Boateng can play in several positions, depending on the formation used. Here are a look at the potential tactical positions that Niko Kovač can use with Kevin-Prince Boateng.
The standard formation for Niko Kovač is the 3-5-2 and what they played in their season opener on the road at Freiburg. From the beginning of the contest, Frankfurt’s attacking two of Sebastian Haller and Daichi Kamada remained flat and close together whilst the wing backs provided the width going forward. When Boateng was introduced in the 67th minute, he played in-behind Haller. Boateng could play alongside Haller, but played a floating number 10 role.
For a good portion of last season, Eintracht Frankfurt played the 4-2-3-1 with great results which included wins against Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg and Augsburg and formed a strong secondary tactical option for Niko Kovač. In this system Boateng would once again play in behind Sebastian Haller with Mijat Gaćinović and Daichi Kamada providing the width in the attacking positions in midfield. Boateng would be well suited to this system as the link-up man for Haller whilst providing himself as a useful option within the 18-yard area.
Marco Fabian played most of last season as Eintracht Frankfurt’s number 10 and with great effect. The Mexican International made 24 appearances last season in his first full season in the Bundesliga producing 7 goals and 4 assists. But unfortunately injury has hampered his career with Eintracht Frankfurt and Fabian won’t be available until the start of January due to an injury to his lower back. When healthy, Fabian will challenge for a first team spot.
Boateng’s other main competitor is the man he replaced on Sunday. The young Japanese talent Daichi Kamada. The 21-year-old
was used as a secondary striker last time out but throughout his J-League career with Sagan Tosu, Kamada played as a number 10 or in deeper roles. On paper, Boateng has the advantage due to his stature but can his form warrant keeping him in the starting XI with a young talent like Kamada and a healthy Fabian ready to take advantage of a spot in the first team?
The Boateng signing from Eintracht Frankfurt was surprising. No question bringing in a player of Prince’s quality will help a side like Eintracht in the short-term, and he has played that role throughout his career. However, whether he can help Frankfurt reach the heights of European competition in years to come or whether he’ll be out the door this time next season remains to be seen.
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