Karim Adeyemi had to leave Bayern Munich, was noticed at SpVgg Unterhaching as Hallodri and is now taking off at RB Salzburg. The 19-year-old striker took 27th place in the annual Goal NxGn young talent award.
A Hallodri is by definition a “mostly younger, light-hearted, often frivolous and somewhat unreliable man”. Somebody like Karim Adeyemi, at least according to the longstanding President of SpVgg Unterhaching Manfred Schwabl. And he should know, after all, he had Adeyemi with him at the club for six years – until Haching was too small for him or his talent was too great for Haching.
Without a single competitive game for the third division team, Adeyemi moved to RB Salzburg in 2018 at the age of 16 for the club-internal record transfer fee of 3.35 million euros. “He’s a type of player who, with his qualities, fits in perfectly with our way of playing football. He’s a player that makes a difference,” said Salzburg’s sports director Christoph Freund in an interview with SPOX and goal.
First, Adeyemi got one and a half years of match practice with the reserve team FC Liefering in the second division before moving up to the pros after the forced Corona break last June. Since then, it has been used in almost every game. Mostly as a substitute, sometimes he was even in the starting line-up.
In 39 appearances, Adeyemi collected ten assists and five goals and he is particularly proud of one of them: his premier goal in the Champions League in a 3-1 win at Lokomotiv Moscow in early December. “Without wanting to exaggerate: I must have looked at the goal more than 100 times,” said Adeyemi the other day Sport1. How he conquers the ball at the center line, runs over half the court, plays an opponent and shoots in at the bottom left, how he then hits a somersault and roars with joy.
Karim Adeymi’s premier goal in the Champions League
The son of a Romanian and a Nigerian was born in Munich in 2002, ended up in the youth department of FC Bayern Munich in 2010 and had to leave it two years later due to alleged disciplinary problems. “Whether there was a lack of discipline is an open question. I don’t think that was the decisive factor,” said Adeyemi in an interview with SPOX and Goal a year ago. “It just didn’t work out with Bayern anymore.”
Off the pitch it didn’t work anymore, and neither did it, as the striker remembers in retrospect: “I don’t think the club will rely on players who do what they want on the offensive.” But that’s exactly what Adeyemi is: an adventurer who prefers risk to safety. Haching got involved with this special type of player and that should be worthwhile for the club, not least because of the transfer fee.
Soon, among others, Chelsea FC, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC were interested and allegedly even Bayern wanted to bring him back at some point. Ultimately, the choice fell on Salzburg, which is best known for developing up-and-coming talent. Think of Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, Dayot Upamecano and Erling Haaland.
As once in Haching, Adeyemi, who is still only 19, is allowed to make mistakes in Salzburg and learn from them. At the end of February, coach Jesse Marsch took him off the pitch in the 37th minute when he was about to lose against Sturm Graz and reproached him: “Karim wasn’t ready, didn’t fight, lost every duel and ball.”
Will he ever play with them in the national team? Adeyemi is currently part of the German U19. His debut has so far had to be postponed due to the corona, but it is probably only a matter of time. “If he continues to really accelerate and is spared injuries,” says Freund, “I can trust him to have a really great international career.”