Bayer Leverkusen have activated a clause in Joel Pohjanpalo’s contract, extending his stay for an extra year.
Pohjanpalo’s contract was originally set to end in 2018, however, after numerous impressive performances - including a debut goal - and hat-trick in his second game - Leverkusen have activated the clause.
The Finnish International broke into the Leverkusen team this season after spending the past three campaigns out on loan.
Natural born goal-scorer
Having played just five games for Leverkusen in his career so far, Pohjanpalo has found the net four times. On his club debut, Pohjanpalo came off the bench to score his first game for the club against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
In his second ever game for Leverkusen he netted his first Bundesliga hat-trick against Hamburger SV. Unfortunately, Pohjanpalo has spent the best part of two months on the sidelines, when he picked up an injury in training after Leverkusen’s 1-1 draw against AS Monaco.
Pohjanpalo is now back in the squad, and will be looking to get some more minutes under his belt to get back to full fitness. In Leverkusen’s last game against 1. FC Köln, Pohjanpalo played the final five minutes.
Pohjanpalo’s new contract gives us a brief insight into Leverkusen’s long-term plans. With the likes of Benjamin Henrichs, Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and now Joel Pohjanpalo in and around the first team, the club's emphasis on bringing through young talent from their academy remains the same.
Pohjanpalo must now use the likes of Henrichs, Jonathan Tah and Brandt somewhat as mentors, on how to break - and more importantly remain - into the first team.
Though Pohjanpalo is 22-years-old, making him much older than some on that list, he still remains young in the world of football. Leverkusen executives will be keen to see Pohjanpalo shine, and potentially fill the gap that will one day be left by club-icon, Stefan Kießling.