Germany's main sporting tabloid reports that "negotiations are already underway" between 1. FC Köln and Bayer 04 Leverkusen for the permanent transfer of striker Joel Pohjanpalo.
|Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
After stints in the 2. Bundesliga with VfR Aalen, Fortuna Düsseldorf, and Hamburger SV, Pohjanpalo finally raised his top tier profile with six goals in 19 appearances on loan at Union Berlin. He scored his first competitive goal for his country in three years during the infamous opening 1-0 victory over Denmark on Day Two of the Euros.
It never looked likely that Pohjanpalo would fit into new head-coach Gerardo Seoane's plans after Union declined to exercise a purchase option at the end of last season. The center-forward was briefly linked with a move to Bielefeld, but ultimately deemed too expensive.
In truth, the cost may also complicate a rumored move to 1. FC Köln, as reported today by Germany's Bild Zeitung. New Kölner coach Steffen Baumgart has made no secret of the fact that he considers his 31-man-roster far too large. Speaking with the German press yesterday, Baumgart spoke of the need "to discuss the future with three or four players."
According to Bild, Köln is pushing for a free transfer event though Pojanpalo's contract runs through 2022. Leverkusen seek a fee in excess of €1 million. A fifth loan-out for the player is supposedly not an option.
Bild concludes that a successful deal might still be possible if Köln can offload their most valuable asset Ellyes Skhiri. After initially seeking a €20 million haul on the player, reports persist that die Geißböcke might still be able to find a buyer in the €15-17 million range.