Wolfsburg sign Yunus Malli from Mainz

Wolfsburg sign Yunus Malli from Mainz

The 24-year-old Turkish international has signed a contract until 2021 with the Wolves after five-and-a-half years with Die Nullfünfer.

James Rees

VfL Wolfsburg have completed the shock signing of midfielder Yunus Malli from Bundesliga rivals 1. FSV Mainz 05.

He has signed a four-and-a-half year contract with the Wolves, and has moved for a reported fee of €12.5 million.

He has joined the side at their winter training camp in La Manga, and will be presented tomorrow following his medical.

He will serve as a direct replacement for Julian Draxler, whose transfer to Paris Saint-Germain was completed earlier this week, and will also inherit his number 10 shirt.

Mainz lose their star player

The news will come as a hammer blow to Mainz fans, as the Turkish international has been one of their most important players since joining from Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer of 2011.

The 24-year-old made a total of 154 appearances in the Bundesliga for die Nullfünfer, scoring a total of 32 goals and creating 23. He had started all 16 of their games in the league this season, scoring six goals and creating a further seven.

He also played in all of Mainz’s UEFA Europa League games this season, and having chosen to represent Turkey ahead of Germany, he has won 11 international caps, including an appearance from the bench against Spain at UEFA Euro 2016.

It was though perhaps inevitable he would eventually move on. Mainz had already pulled the plug on a transfer to Borussia Dortmund last January, and with his contract set to run out in 2018, the club were always likely to cash in if a new contract was not possible.

His ability with the ball and threat in counter attacks will be difficult to replace for Martin Schmidt’s side, however his new side will be hoping he can fill the voids left by Draxler and, before him, Kevin De Bruyne.

An extra option for Wolfsburg in attack

The club’s head of sport Olaf Rebbe expressed his delight at the capture of Malli. He pointed to his experience in both the Bundesliga and international competition and described him as “an absolute team player.”

Meanwhile his new head coach Valérien Ismaël believes that Malli will bring his side “further flexibility and strength in the attacking areas.” He is looking forward to the threat in front of goal and on set pieces that Malli will offer.

On the other hand, Mainz are naturally disappointed to lose him. Rouven Schröder, their sporting director, admitted that a new contract for the playmaker would been “absolutely unlikely from an economic point of view.”

However he said he had left a “lasting impression” on the club and called him “a great example for the sustainable and patient development on young players” in the Bundesliga.

He is the second new signing to arrive at Wolfsburg in this window, with Dutch midfielder Riechedly Bazoer having joined the club from AFC Ajax.

Quotes via 1. FSV Mainz 05 and VfL Wolfsburg.