Among the many stars that will join Bayern Munich, this summer young Jann-Fiete Arp might be perhaps the greatest unknown. In fairness, the former U17 World Cup star has not exactly turned heads in the last two seasons at Hamburger SV.
During the 2017/18 season, Arp was part of a side that wrote history. For the first time in Hamburger SV’s history, the club was relegated. The striker was right amidst the crisis and, in many ways, was even hailed as the coming superstar that could shoot Hamburg to salvation.
The burden was perhaps a bit too much for the then 18-year-old. The jump from junior football to the Bundesliga, however, is a big one and in 18 games last season Fiete Arp managed just two goals in 18 games.
Nonetheless, he was the first Hamburg scorer in history to be born after the year 2000. In fact, Arp started spectacularly into his Bundesliga career, scoring two goals in his first three games.
After Hamburg’s relegation rumours emerged that the striker would be leaving Hamburg and join Bayern Munich, instead Arp renewed his contract, however. But what people did not know was that Arp had already agreed on a deal with the record champions from Munich.
Then in February Bayern confirmed the deal. “The 19-year-old striker will be able to move to Munich as early as summer 2019, or he’ll become an FC Bayern pro in the 2020/21 season. The decision as to when he’ll leave Hamburger SV will be made solely by Arp,” the official statement on Bayern’s homepage read.
“Fiete will join Bayern this summer and will also play there,” Arp’s agent Jürgen Milewski told the German paper Hamburger Morgen Post in May. Milewski also denied reports that suggested that Arp would join Bayern this summer but would then be loaned out for one season.
An early transfer, one year before his deal at Bayern was supposed to kickstart. But there are good reasons for Arp to move to Munich now rather than next year. After all, the development of the forward in Hamburg had stalled.
The striker had scored just one goal and one assist in 17 Bundesliga 2 goals. Furthermore, he was often parked in the Regionalliga Nord where he played for HSV II and scored three goals in seven games.
Not exactly a convincing record ahead of joining Germany’s biggest club. But leaving his youth club makes sense. Ahead of last season, the expectations were piled on the young striker, a Hamburg youth prospect through and through there was hope that Arp could fire HSV back to the Bundesliga.
It was, however, not meant to be, in fact, Arp was often accused of complacency, parked at the second team with head coaches suggesting he was not working hard enough. It is not uncommon that for youth players to be judged differently than signings in terms of expectations and failures, and it was no different for Arp.
For the Hamburg boy to join Munich is, therefore, almost like an escape. In fact, Arp can look to a different Germany striker as an inspiration. Timo Werner left VfB Stuttgart following the club’s relegation in 2016 and has since emerged as one of the most talented players in Germany. Hence, leaving the comfort zone is sometimes necessary to make the decisive next step in a young players development.