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Leverkusen updates:
Bayer exercise early recall option on Puerta, Rolfes admits Tah is likely headed out

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Bayer 04 Leverkusen confirmed on Tuesday evening that they had exercised their right to recall Colombian midfielder Gustavo Puerta early from his open-ended loan stint with 1. FC Nürnberg.

Bayer top personnel manager Simon Rolfes has also commented publicly on defender Jonathan Tah's exit clause, confirming that the company club stands little chance of keeping him.
Jonathan Tah.
Jonathan Tah.Photo: Дмитрий Пукалик/Soccer.ru/CC-by-SA 3.0
Colombian midfield talent Gustavo Puerta's loan arrangement with 1. FC Nürnberg always contained an option for an early recall after just six months. On Tuesday evening, parent club Bayer 04 Leverkusen confirmed that they had opted to exercise this option and bring the 19-year-old back to their camp.

The Colombian youth international regrettably went unused on interim trainer Dieter Hecking's bench this past spring. Leverkusen boss Simon Rolfes expressed his disappointment that the move had not worked out when commenting on the recall action, also noting that the top tier side was still prepared to give Puerta a shot during summer camp.

"Nürnberg may have found it difficult to bring in a youngster from South America because of the [relegation] situation," Rolfes said on Tuesday, "It would certainly have happened differently if safety had been secured earlier. Gustavo is key player on the Colombian U20 team. He demonstrated that at the beginning of the year in the continental championship and is doing so again at the U20 World Cup."

"He now comes with us to training camp," Rolfes continued, "We want to see how he does in our squad and what potential impacts he can make. In his position as a six or eight, Gustavo has a promising future ahead of him."

Rolfes also commented publicly today on the state of defender Jonathan Tah's reported €18 million release clause. Rolfes, as quoted by both German's Kicker Magazine and "Sport Bild", confirmed the existence of said clause and conceded that buying Tah out of it wasn't really an option for Germany's red company team.

Tah was officially selected for the top XI of the 2022/23 Europa League campaign on Tuesday. Rolfes congratulated the 27-year-old on this honor, then effectively offered his pre-congratulations to Tah on a future move to the Premiership. The German international, after changing agents and reportedly informing Leverkusen of his intention to depart, seems destined for a move to the Isle.

"He has rightly been selected for the Europa League XI," Rolfes told Sport Bild, "he played a very good second half of the season. Even in games where the team was not so good, he played well. In the difficult games, Jona has taken an important role. If he doesn't sense the right opportunity [for a switch to the Premiership], there's always a chance that he'll stay."

"He always had the goal of playing in the Premier League," Rolfes continued, "We set up his current deal so that he could do so. If he has a chance to realize that now, it's okay. He's obviously an important player for us, but buying him out of his clause isn't an option. He could always decide not to pull the clause and that would be a good option for us."

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