Sehrou Guirassy: 1. FC Köln’s New French Striker

Five days ago, the acquisition of striker Sehrou Guirassy seemed to have met a dead end due to concerns following his medical check by club physicians. The issue instead proved today to be but a speed bump as the club announced Wednesday the deal had been finished, bringing the 20-year-old prospect from LOSC Lille to the Domstadt where he will play under a new five-year contract.

The Numbers

1.86 –  Meters tall, or 6 foot, 1 inch (in ‘merikun)

20 – The current age of Guirassy since March 20, allowing him to play for the French U20 squad.

2021 – The year Guirassy’s new deal runs into.

(almost) 5 million – The transfer fee in Euros reported for the original deal before the medical-examination results put everything on hold.

3.8 million – The transfer fee in Euros being reported as a result in post-exam re-negotiations between 1. FC Köln and LOSC Lille.

8 & 16 – The number of goals Guirassy scored last year for Ligue 2 side AJ Auxerre after being loaned out last winter & the number of games he played to score them.

1 – The number of goals Guirassy scored for LOSC Lille in the first half of the season before the loan, a game-winner in the third round of the league cup (Lille would go on to lose to Paris St. Germain in the final)

4 – Number of weeks Guirassy will be unavailable for team participation following surgery, which reportedly has already taken place, less than 24 hours after putting pen to paper.

12 – The number Guirassy wore with LOSC, which is currently unassigned among the professionals.

The Deal

As mentioned, this transfer was in the process of happening last week and was suddenly stopped cold due to an undisclosed meniscus injury. The problem was characterized by sporting director Jörg Schmadtke as “not serious,” but the boss added, “the transfer will not be made under the negotiated conditions.”

Certainly, that can easily be translated as, “We’d still like to buy the player, but we would like a bit of a discount, considering he’s slightly damaged.”

But then the tweet from the club left things sounding a bit more final.

Meanwhile, Jean-Michel Vandamme of LOSC said, “There is no reason for new negotiations. We had a deal. We will not renegotiate. Either the player transfers to Köln under the specified terms or he plays the new season in Lille. He has nothing that will jeopardize his career, and therefore, the conditions remain as they are.”

Schmadtke, clearly, had a vastly differing view of the matter and responded fairly brusquely.

“Guirassy had a diagnosed injury. Then they rewrote the diagnosis and told him: three days rest and then everything will be fine. But that’s not how it works. One does not do such things; that is not clean business practice.”

With the sides seemingly at odds, rumors began to emerge that the club was perhaps moving on and shifting focus toward FC Midtylland midfielder Pione Sisto.

And then on Wednesday . . .

The Result

“We believe in his potential. Guirassy “acts linearlly” with a strong push to the goal and is convincing at the end.”

(Apologies for that hacked translation, but I don’t know how to say “agiert geradlinig” without it sounding like my own earlier Twitter analysis, so . . . that clumsy phrase in quotes.)

“Potential” is likely the key word here. Signing a somewhat-unproven 20-year-old striker to a five-year deal definitely shows Schmadtke’s hand here. While there is a hopeful chance that Guirassy forces himself into the team early, it is likely the bet is on him developing into a Modeste-replacement over time, perhaps even as part of a strike tandem up top. Last season at Auxerre, Guirassy was typically deployed as one of two strikers, and his eight-goal performance in France’s second division showed he has the tools to be productive in that role.

Scanning through highlights videos, one notices two predominant themes:

  • Guirassy moves very strongly and with conviction toward goal.
  • Guirassy punctuates chances with a very impressive final touch, whether it’s with the head or foot.

Granted, watching goal videos means you’re not watching all the time he didn’t score, but it’s an impressive demeanor for a young player all the same. In a few of the videos, Guirassy could be seen holding up play and making smart passes to allow the build-up to continue.

That said, this all happened in the French second division, which is not the German first division. We already have some first-hand experience with talent and accomplishment not making the full leap with the player across the gap.

Or maybe it will prove that he’s just too good to be held back. Whichever the case, we’ll see . . . eventually.

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