Jeremie Frimpong – The speedster sprinting to the very top by Ross Hall
Name: Jeremie Agyekum Frimpong
Position(s): Right Back / Wingback and Winger
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Jeremie Frimpong is arguably one of the most dynamic and sought after right sided players in world football. In this review of Frimpong we are going to outline what he’s done so far and what makes him so appealing to potential suitors like Real Madrid, Manchester Utd and many more.
Frimpong is a product of the Manchester City Academy having spent 9 years in the system. He played in multiple roles as he graduated through each age group but at 18 he decided that he needed to find a club where he could gain first team experience.
He joined Glasgow Celtic on a 4 year deal in September of 2019 and this is where his potential started to turn into proven ability. His breakthrough season saw him get his first taste of winning trophies as part of the treble winning team in 2019/20 season and he also won the club’s YPOTY award.
In 2021 he joined his current club Bayer Leverkusen for a fee in the region of 11 million pounds and he has continued to develop the skills that he showed at both Man City and Celtic.
He has yet to be given a full international cap by the Netherlands, and has recently rejected the advances from Ghana in the hopes of fulfilling his dream of playing for the nation of his birth.
What makes Jeremie Frimpong?
Jeremie Frimpong has a variety of strings to his bow as a player. His versatility sees him able to fill any role on the right side of the pitch in defence or attack. Within his arsenal, he carries a phenomenal burst of intense speed, great ability to carry the ball and an engine that allows him to keep a high level of intensity throughout a game.
The young Dutchman is very much in the school of front footed players and if you were considering making him part of your team then there is a balance that needs to be found elsewhere to allow him to produce his best football. When he played for Celtic, he was utilised as a right back in a 442 and at wing back in a 352 but over time teams in Scotland did look to expose his smaller stature and lack of aerial prowess. They also began to fear his pace so much that you often would see 2 or 3 players moved into a zone where his attacking runs were made into more of running of the gauntlet where he was kicked from pillar to post, so he became less of a threat in terms of statistical attacking numbers.
What we have seen since his move to is that they use the threat he offers in a far more effective manner as they can expose overloads in other areas if teams over commit in an effort to halt this Dutch dynamo. He has also improved his upper body strength so he can hold off defenders who want to try and be more hands on in their efforts to stop him when he moves at pace.
Ideally where you want Frimpong is head up in a 1vs1 situation with some space in behind because more often than not his speed and dribbling ability will see him going past the poor soul like the road runner goes past Wylie Coyote. It’s almost unfair at times. His successful dribbles at Leverkusen since he arrived have been above 55% and he is one of their top players for entering into the final third. Once he is past his opponent you then get to an area where he needs to brush up on over time, and that is with his final ball. His crossing or ability to pick out the final pass needs work, if he can increase the volume of pick-outs in the final third he could easily be looking at double figures in terms of assists.
In my opinion, he needs to achieve improved numbers in the assists column he needs to look at his point of release. Whether that be crossing earlier from deeper areas to allow the attack to exploit zones in behind defences, or by ensuring he has a clear target with balls when he gets to the byeline. Both he and his teammates will benefit from him making adjustments in this area, especially Patrick Schick who thrives on balls that allow him to shoot within 2 touches. The 2 assists in the Champions League vs Atletico Madrid should be what he looks to replicate on a more regular basis. His first being a good physical duel to beat Hermoso and then he turned inside with his head up and picks out Andrichs late run. The second is Frimpong at his best, Leverkusen break and he eats up ground, making up 10 to 15 yards in a split second to move onto a pass from Hudson-Odoi where he curls a lovely weighted cross to the opposite side for Diaby to smash home.
One real improvement that has been seen this season is his goal return, at the time of writing this he has 5 goals from 14 games in the Bundesliga which is more than he’s scored in any of his previous seasons at Leverkusen or Celtic. He never seemed to quite time the run into the back post particularly well, so a lot of good opportunities for him to get easy goals were left on the table, but this season has seen him score more of those nice simple tap-ins because he’s getting into the back post more often and the timing has also improved.
This season has been one of early change for Leverkusen with Xabi Alonso now in charge. Alonso appears to favour a 343 (3421) which is move from the 4231 that was preferred by Seoane. This should allow Frimpong to do more of what he does best for Leverkusen. Get up and running and go outside of Moussa Diaby or to make a run inside of him. In theory, they should become a feared double act for Leverkusen. I don’t imagine there are many fullbacks relishing the prospect of having to keep pace with those 2 for 90 minutes.
Defensively you get what you would expect with Frimpong at the age of 21, positionally he can sometimes get exposed especially in systems that see him play as a traditional right back in a back 4. His height can also be exposed along with his willingness to attack which inevitably leaves spaces in behind. What he does do well is defend ground duels in 1vs1 situations well and he’s not afraid to use his pace to recover ground either. When you look at his statistics over the last 2 seasons he wins around 60% of ground duels, while his aerial numbers stand at around 30%. Easy to see why he is better suited to being in a wingback role as opposed to a back 4.
In terms of his International prospects he is currently up against the likes of Dumfries (Inter), Hateboer (Atlanta), Karsdorp (Roma) and Rensch (Ajax). Dumfries is very much the number 1 option for Louis Van Gaal and the rest will likely be fighting it out to be his backup as the wingback in the World Cup squad which will be announced in the coming days. Rensch would be the likely option given he was in the last 2 match day squads for the games against Poland and Belgium.
Overall for me Frimpong is a player who has undoubted talent and would be a great addition to any team who wants to utilise a system with wingbacks or wide midfielders who can go from one end to the other with speed and intensity. There are things he needs to improve on like his final ball and his left foot. I would also like to think that Alonso will help guide Frimpong into becoming a more rounded player in terms of improving his tactical awareness. The big picture for Frimpong and anyone who wants to consider him is he is 21 with a lot of experience whilst also having plenty of road left to run. I’m sure he’ll run that road at his usual 100mph while all those Wylie Coyote defenders who try to stand in his way will be left trying to set another new trap to try and catch the Road Runner that is Frimpong “Meep, Meep”.
Talent Overview – Jeremie Frimpong
Areas To Improve:
Defending Aerially (knowing how to use his body to make life more difficult for opponents)
My thanks for reading and to FTS for giving me this opportunity
Ross Hall – (The Talent Overview)