As the transfer deadline approached, Anthony Martial joining Manchester United undoubtedly raised eyebrows, the initial €50 million fee making the 19-year-old one of the most intriguing signings of the summer.
AS Monaco made a notable profit on the Paris native, sending him on to Old Trafford just two years after acquiring him from Olympique Lyonnais for a relatively low €5 million.
Yet Martial was not the only young French striker on the move in August, with Bayern Munich making an equally eye-catching deal for Kingsley Coman. The Bavarian giants signed the talented Juventus forward on loan for €7 million, agreeing to pay a further €21 million should they opt to make the transfer permanent in 2017.
If the Premier League giants have taken a calculated gamble with Martial, they do so for a player who has made over 50 appearances in Ligue 1 and who started 23 matches last term.
Netting nine times along the way, he is still – despite his own career being in its infancy – vastly more experienced than Coman, who has yet to establish his credentials at the highest level. Three brief substitute appearances with Paris Saint-Germain preceded his free agent switch to Italy, where he instantly found a coach who trusted him and believed in his talent.
Despite having the likes of Álvaro Morata, Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez at his disposal, Max Allegri handed Coman a place in the starting XI on the opening day of 2014/15, and the youngster would not disappoint. Turning in an excellent display, the teenager was not over-awed by the responsibility, almost opening the scoring with some excellent long-range shots while his pace troubled the Chievo defence throughout.
Although he would only start a further four league games, there was little doubt that Coman figured prominently in the club’s plans, and Allegri continued to use him wherever possible. Across a total of 22 appearances in all competitions, he notched two assists, including a superb through-ball to Roberto Pereyra in the 3-1 rout of Napoli back in May.
Over the course of his first year with La Madama, he showed himself to be a versatile attacking force, perhaps best suited to a role out wide where his speed could best be utilised. Comfortable on the ball, Coman showed good vision and an ability to beat defenders with skill as well as pace, repeatedly thrilling the crowd at Juventus Stadium with a variety of tricks and turns.
He also scored his first goal for the club in the Coppa Italia, a stunning strike which hinted at the bright future undoubtedly ahead of him in Turin.
He remained an unused substitute in the Coppa Italia Final, but would be sent onto the field for the last few minutes of the Champions League loss to Barcelona, an incredible experience for a player his age.
As the new campaign got underway, Allegri faced a season without Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and of course Tevez, but once again handed Coman a key role. The 19-year-old would start Juve’s Supercoppa Italiana victory over Lazio, and would repeat that in the club’s first Serie A fixture. Playing over an hour on each occasion, the coach had shown his continued belief in his talented protégé, but Vidal had already publically called on his friend to join him at the Allianz Arena.
“Coman isn’t just young and quick,” the Chilean international told Bild back in August. “He’s also a great player in terms of his quality. He has tremendous potential for improvement, and if he were to follow me here it’d be a big help for Bayern.” That was followed by news that the Bianconeri had rejected offers from Pep Guardiola’s side, while Arsenal and Liverpool had also declared an interest in the young Frenchman.
Late last week, news he would follow Vidal to Germany was confirmed, and Allegri was visibly angry when asked about the deal by reporters.
“Coman is on his way and has asked to leave,” the Juve boss said at a press conference last week. “I’ve picked him for our first two games, but he’s decided his future lies elsewhere.”
There was clearly a feeling the player had displayed a lack of gratitude for the opportunities Juventus had afforded him, and those would only be compounded by Coman at his first official engagement with his new side.
“Obviously I’m very happy indeed,” he said at a press event with FCB.tv. “It’s a dream come true. I always wanted to play for a really big club like FC Bayern.”
That felt somewhat disrespectful to Juventus, and Coman has much to prove with the Bundesliga giants. That potential €28 million fee looking like extremely good business for Juventus at the moment, and only time will tell if they made a mistake in capitalising on Bayern’s interest so quickly.
Read more from Adam Digby