What Leon Dajaku can offer Sunderland and how he can fit into Lee Johnson's side based on Bayern Munich spell

Sunderland’s late swoop to sign German pair Leon Dajaku and Thorben Hoffman has certainly excited supporters on Wearside – yet there remains a degree of uncertainty surrounding the Black Cats’ new signings.

Sunday, 5th September 2021, 12:30 pm

That is usually the case when clubs venture into the foreign market, which always poses the initial question: Can they adapt to English football?

The positive thing for Sunderland boss Lee Johnson is that he does have options in both the goalkeeping department, where 22-year-old Hoffman will hope to become the club’s number one option, and on the flanks, where Dajaku likes to ply his trade.

Still, the duo arrive with plenty of promise having progressed through the academy at Bayern Munich, and are viewed as potential long-term assets due to Sunderland’s ‘option to buy’ clauses.

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Leon Dajaku.

The arrival of Dajaku, who has revealed his favourite position is out on the wing, may have raised some eyebrows as the Black Cats allowed academy graduate Jack Diamond to sign for Harrogate Town on loan.

Sunderland also have Aiden McGeady and Lynden Gooch as their first-choice options on the flanks – so what will Dajaku bring to the side?

Looking at the German’s numbers, his playing style appears clear.

Before a loan move to Union Berlin, where he featured just twice due to an injury, Dajaku averaged 9.55 dribbles per game playing for Bayern Munich II - in the third tier of German football - last season.

Figure One: Leon Dajaku takes on an opponent during a match between Bayern Munich II and Wehen Wiesbaden.

While there are obviously differences between the leagues, that is more than what McGeady (4.24) and Gooch (8.39) have registered in League One this term.

It should be noted that only 46.7 of the dribbles Dajaku attempted in that spell were successful, while McGeady (57.9 per cent)and Gooch (71.1 per cent) have better success rates in the 2021/22 league campaign.

Clearly Dajaku is raw, but looking at the clips of him in action he’s a player who can make quick transitions into the final third.

Figures one and two show the winger charging past an opponent during a league match between Bayern Munich II and Wehen Wiesbaden, before cutting inside to deliver a cross on his prefered right foot.

Figure Three: Leon Dajaku crosses with his left foot during a match between Bayern Munich II and Wehen Wiesbaden.

While Dajaku can also play on the right or as a number 10, his favoured position is on the left, yet he’s not just a winger who will cut inside.

In fact, the German often opts to run towards the byline and cross with his left foot, as shown by figure three in the same game against Wehen Wiesbaden.

On average, Dajaku attempted 4.38 crosses (42.9 per cent success rate) per match for Bayern Munich II last season, which is similar to McGeady’s 4.24 (26.3 per cent success rate) in League One this campaign.

Yet as shown by figure four during Sunderland’s win over Wycombe, McGeady appears more likely to cut inside onto his right foot before delivering a cross.

Figure Four: Aiden McGeady crosses with his right foot during Sunderland's League One game against Wycombe.

Dajaku’s arrival will therefore give Sunderland a different string to their bow, yet his new team-mates may also have to adapt.

When the German does burst down the outside, his deliveries into the box are often low and flat after he’s arrived at a crossing position at speed, as shown by figure five during Bayern Munich II’s match against Unterhaching.

Clearly Dajaku is an exciting prospect, though, and hopefully he’s someone supporters will enjoy watching.

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Figure Five: Leon Dajaku crosses with his left foot during a match between Bayern Munich II and Unterhaching.

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