Jeremie Frimpong
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Jeremie Frimpong: The Flying Dutchman

Jeremie Frimpong’s journey from leaving Manchester City’s academy back in 2019 until now has been nothing short of extraordinary. The Dutch wing-back has become one of the most important assets in one of the most impressive and successful squads over a single season in the history of football, and at just 23 years old, the sky is truly the limit for Frimpong.

The former Celtic defender has 14 goals and 12 assists in 44 games in all competitions for Leverkusen this season. It’s the highest goal-scoring campaign of his career, with the bulk of his games coming from the right wing-back spot. Playing further up the pitch is not a new thing for him, as he previously had stints in attacking situations during his time at Celtic and Manchester City.

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Frim of His Life:

Frimpong’s pace and power are one of the main reasons the switch higher up the pitch has been so seamless. His current top speed in the Bundesliga is 35.96 km/h, making him the ninth-fastest player in the entire league this season. It’s a major asset to have as a player, and something Xabi Alonso has utilised time and time again to get Leverkusen up the pitch and even win them games late on against tired legs who have no hope of catching up to him.

So far in his career, the 23-year-old has won the Scottish Premiership, the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup, as well as the Bundesliga title this season. Frimpong’s side has the chance to become the first team in football history to go unbeaten in the Bundesliga, with just one game left to play. They start the run in with the final league game against Augsburg on Saturday, and end it with the DFB Pokal final against FC Kaiserslautern on May 25th, with the Europa League final against Atalanta in between.

When compared to other full-backs in the top five leagues in Europe, Frimpong ranks in the top 1% when it comes to non-penalty goals, non-penalty XG, and shots on target. He ranks in the top 9% for assists per 90 minutes and in the top 7% for shot-creating actions per 90 minutes, too. When it comes to progressive carries, Frimpong is second to none, completing 5.50 per game, the top 2% in the whole of Europe.

Using statistics provided to us by Data MB, Frimpong has the sixth highest successful attacking actions in Europe’s top seven leagues when compared to other wing-backs and the 4th highest out of any player under the age of 24. He has the 9th highest number of progressive runs and ranks 11th for key passes. He has proven in nearly every statistical graphic imaginable that he can be placed amongst the elite players in the elite leagues at this moment in time, and that’s only likely to improve the more he matures as a footballer in the coming years.

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Frimpong’s City & Celtic Days:

The journey to get to this stage in his career has not been easy for Frimpong. He joined Manchester City when he was nine years old and would go on to make over 60 appearances for their U18 and U23 sides during his time at the club. Speaking on why he left City at that stage of his career, he has the following to say:

“I had a good season with the Under-23s, but I didn’t want to do that again because I’d already done it. I wanted first-team football and if that wasn’t coming at City then it had to be somewhere else. “It wasn’t easy for me leaving, I’d been there all my life. But I had to try it”.

Frimpong joined Celtic in September of 2019 for a fee of around £380k and made 51 appearances at the club during his time there. He became a fan favourite  in Scotland, performing so well for the club that, at one stage, Chris Sutton posted on X, declaring his love for the flying Dutch wing-back. He won the fans young player of the season award in his first year at the club for the 2019–20 season.

Frimpong’s qualities on the pitch aren’t the only impressive trait he has; his attitude, intelligence, and personality off it are just as admirable. He exudes an infectious exuberance that showcases his true joy for life and what comes with it, and he has been described as a must-have character to have in a dressing room. Having a character around a club like Frimpong is one of the unwritten rules of success, as the environment around the team is what stabilises the platform that allows them to perform on the pitch.

When speaking to one of the biggest fans of the Celtic space on X, Everything Celtic, he described Frimpong in the exact same manner during his time at the club. He was initially brought in to Celtic as a developmental player at 18 years old, but there was an acknowledgement immediately based on Jeremie’s aptitude in training and the levels he was showcasing that he could be a major asset in the first-team setup.

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Once he made his debut for the club, he never looked back. He became a mainstay in the first-team, but during his time at Celtic, there was a feeling he lacked that tiny bit of end product that could bridge the gap for him between being viewed as a good player and someone who could be placed among the elites. That seems to be a gap he’s bridged quite well since joining Leverksuen, with his end product now being one of his standout traits.

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Leverkusen Callin’

He spent a season and a half in Scotland under the guidance of manager Neil Lennon before leaving for his current club, Bayer Leverkusen, in the January window of the 2021 season for an undisclosed fee. There was an element of surprise when Frimpong decided to leave the club, but it has proved to be the move that ended up being the making of him as a footballer.

Frimpong was signed by Dutch manager Peter Bosz, but the pair did not have long together as Bosz was sacked by the club in March of 2021, two months after Jeremie was signed. He admittedly struggled during his first couple of months in the league, stating as much himself in an interview with the Athletic. Frimpong started just four games after signing in January for Leverkusen, playing at right full-back, and only registered one assist, during the last 32 clash against Young Boys in the Europa League.

His second season, however, proved his class. The Dutch international started 25 out of the 26 games he was in the squad for in the Bundesliga, nailing down a starting spot at right-back and scoring one goal while delivering six assists. In all competitions, he scored twice and registered eight assists, a career high at that stage in his career.  His season was unfortunately cut short after a ligament tear against FC Koln in March, resulting in him missing the last 11 games of the season. 

Speaking of his injury history, Frimpong’s has been almost immaculate up until this stage of his career. He has missed just 14 games through injury during his time in football so far, with the ankle ligament tear the only occasion he has ever missed more than 2 games. He does not have a history of muscle tears, which is a huge boost for a player with such explosive pace as him. It’s a major asset for any player to have.

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The 22/23 season was where the world saw the real Jeremie Frimpong. 9 goals and 11 assists in all competitions made it another record year for the then-22-year-old, as he continued his upward progression towards becoming one of the most dynamic and versatile young defenders on the planet. The emergence of Xabi Alonso into the Leverkusen team in October meant Frimpong began to experiment further up the pitch, and it paid dividends as he started all but two of the 34 Bundesliga games his side played last season on the way to a sixth place finish.

 His brilliant form in the season earned him a call-up to the 2022 World Cup squad for his country, which was something that drew huge praise from the Leverkusen boss.

“He deserves this chance to participate in the World Cup.”

“He has a very big impact on our game. He is a very good player, but for me is even a special player. It is logical that Louis Van Gaal gives him the chance because he is a difference player.” 

International level is perhaps the area Jeremie will hope to conquer next, as he has made just two appearances for the senior Netherlands side up until now. Ronald Koeman’s attitude towards Frimpong last year set back his ascension into the unit by a number of months, as the former Barcelona defender claimed Frimpong was perhaps not as defensively sound as the other right full-backs in the national team. A claim that has proved to be quite controversial, especially considering he’s been part of a Leverkusen side that have conceded just 23 goals in the Bundesliga this season, keeping 16 clean sheets, five more than Bayern Munich in second place.

Frimpong made his debut last October in a 23 minute cameo against France, with his most recent outing coming in the 4-0 win over Scotland back in March. He is fully expected to be part of the upcoming EURO 2024 squad, where his nation will be aiming to reach their first major international final since the World Cup back in 2010, when Jeremie was just 10-years-old.

It’s been a crazy journey for Frimpong since his first professional game back on the 25th of September, but he can take pride in the fact that no matter what happens from this moment forward, his name will be etched into the history booked forever more, and a day after that.

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