Donyell Malen – the Arsenal graduate set to take the Bundesliga by surprise

Within just two rounds of the now concluded 2020 European Championships, Donyell Malen made headlines for his role as part of a free-flowing Dutch attack. Alongside team star Memphis Depay, the 22-year-old was able to help see the Orange sail smoothly into the knock-outs. Though the Euros didn’t end in the way every Dutch fan would wish, it definitely left them with positives for the future, of which Donyell Malen was a major one.

The 5’10 forward, born to a Surinamese father and a Dutch mother in the Netherlands, first caught the eye of Ajax at the age of nine. Eventually joining their academy, Malen didn’t believe he could make it into the Ajax first team, and opted for a move away.

MOVING TO LONDON

In 2015, fortune smiled on Malen and he was able to secure a move to London to join English Premier League club Arsenal, joining the youth team at the age of 16. The young Dutch forward scored a whopping 44 times across two seasons in London.

His exciting pace and power even saw him feature twice for the first team under then manager Arsène Wenger. But just before he could force his way into the first team properly, PSV Eindhoven came knocking. Arsenal accepted the offer to offload their Dutch star, and Donyell Malen was back in the Netherlands.

BACK HOME IN EINDHOVEN

Upon returning to the Netherlands and now a polished talent, Malen took little time to settle into the Eredivisie. In fact his 133 appearances for PSV saw him hit the back of the net 60 times, coupled with over 25 assists.

His blistering start to life in the Eredivisie, eventually got him his first national team call-up in August of 2019. He has since made a total of 13 appearances for the Orange and scored two times in that period.

MOVING TO THE BUNDESLIGA

After a couple of successful years in the Netherlands, Malen’s fast-paced attacking style has seen him catch the eye of Bundesliga giant Borussia Dortmund. A deal in the region of $33 million saw his switch from PSV to BVB 09 completed.

But what type of addition will Donyell Malen be to Borussia Dortmund?

Definitely not the typical target-man, Malen’s hovering style of play appears to be slightly different as he relies on pace, passing and strong positioning to both create chances for his teammates and also take advantage of the opportunities in front of the goal.

His ability to play on both flanks where he can use his pace and dribbling abilities to progress play is definitely a skill that will be well appreciated by Dortmund’s prolific No.9 Erling Haaland. Doubling up as a striker, his counter-pressing skills and pace will definitely be key to Dortmund. Further, his ability to perfectly position himself and link up with others will be key for Marco Rose’s side this season.

It is obvious that a youngster like Donyell Malen, who has shown consistency over the past few years, will soon be one of the names top European clubs will have on their wish-list soon, as he seems to possess a quality most European giants lack in their attack.

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