If you talk about Luxembourg nowadays, you probably do not think about football. The oldest will remember a quarter-final in 1964 World Cup, but it’s clearly not a football country. Nevertheless, there are strong connections between Luxembourg and France. More particularly Lorraine and FC Metz which are training grounds for Luxembourgers wishing to raise their level and make a career as professional in football. There is a new young player who matches perfectly with this situation: Vincent Thill.
Born in 2000, he is the first player born after the year 2000 to make his debut among the five major European leagues. He is making a very good impression, both in selection and at FC Metz where he signed his first pro-contract last year, well known for training players like Miralem Pjanic, Sadio Mané or Robert Pires. Now he is part of the first team, but history behind his professionalisation is a bit different from other young talents, and it could be a key for the rest of his career.
Bayern Munich knock at the door
Arrived at the training center in U13, he made his ranges until the end of last season and the signing of a three-year pro contract. Nevertheless, the choice of FC Metz was not the only option for Vincent Thill: Bayern Munich were very interested, and almost signed him. The Luxembourgish international agent even went to Berlin to see the leaders of Bayern Munich. Shortly before the contract he signed with FC Metz, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – part of direction staff – in person moved to Lorraine to make a final offer almost tripled compared to the first: 6 million euros plus bonuses. Huge for a boy who has not played any pro games and the Bavarian club intends to train over three years before thinking of the launch in the Bundesliga.
He will even make an offer to the family of the little prodigy: €250,000 for each season spent in Metz free of charge, until Vincent joins Germany at the end of his contract. One condition, major: he does not sign any professional contract in Lorraine.
Nevertheless, Vincent Thill is very close to his family, especially with his father – former footballer – and chose to sign for the French club. A choice probably wise when you know the number of young players who get lost in the big clubs.
Given the age and especially the size of the kid (1.76 m, 69 kg), Vincent Thill is not a physical player. He compensates for this deficit by footballing qualities well above average. A surgical left foot, a precision in passes and in strikes, a breathtaking technical ease and a reading of the supersonic game that allows him to avoid duels. It makes me think of a young Mesut Ozil with less vision but more skills and shot ability.
Position and evolution
Vincent Thill plays in different positions. His natural position is attacking midfielder where he uses his vision and his skills to make the game or break lines. Nevertheless, he has played sometimes as a forward striker a bit like Antoine Griezmann – not a real striker – behind a taller teammate. While he only played a few professional games we don’t know yet if he is strong enough to play more games and at a higher level than now. He can make you think to players like Antoine Griezmann and Paulo Dybala in the fact that he is very skilled but thin physically. Like these players, he has terrific shot capability allowing him to get the ball and release a strike in a short period of time.
It will be difficult for FC Metz to keep him from big clubs. Like we saw above, Bayern Munich is just there and PSG or Real Madrid are also interested. According to “Le Quotidien” (Luxembourg newspaper), Zinedine Zidane telephoned the 17-year-old Luxembourgish to express his interest. However, some remember the Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard who signed in Madrid but who never played with the first team. The latter is also very similar to the Luxembourgish: a very good offensive midfielder, playing with his left foot, evolving in a nation with little prestige and which interests a lot of big clubs.
Like Antoine Griezmann and Paulo Dybala, Vincent Thill will probably have to go through an intermediate club before reaching the top level.