Football

Ireland's Aaron Connolly Attracting Serious Interest From Top German Club

Ireland's Aaron Connolly Attracting Serious Interest From Top German Club

Republic of Ireland u19 striker Aaron Connolly is of interest to German side Hoffenheim, with Manchester United and Manchester City also believed to be tracking his progress.

According to Sky Sports, the clubs have been impressed by Connolly's stunning form for Brighton u23's this season, netting nine times in 10 games in Premier League 2.

Starting out at Galway's Mervue United, he made the move to England's south coast in 2016 after impressing on trial. He had also previously been on trial at Manchester United. He was quickly fast tracked into the club's u23 side, while also making his senior debut as a late substitute in the EFL cup win over Barnet in August 2017.

Turning 19 in January, Connolly's form has attracted attention from some big name suitors, with Hoffenheim showing the strongest interest. The club are one of the rising powers in German football, reaching the Champions League group stage for the first time this season.

German clubs have been increasingly looking to the youth ranks of English club for recruitment in recent times, with a number of players having fruitful experiences in the Bundesliga.

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Jadon Sancho is of course the most well-known case, making the move from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund in 2017. After taking a year to settle in his new surroundings, he has been a revelation this season. He was named Bundesliga player of the month for October, while also making his senior England debut at the age of 18.

Reece Oxford and Ademola Lookman are other players currently in the Bundesliga having move from English clubs, although both of these are loan moves.

While Brighton have offered Connolly a new contract, he is apparently stalling as the interest from other clubs increases. The club are willing to send him out on loan in the January transfer window.

Speaking to Brighton's official website this week, the player said he was certainly open to the idea of leaving on loan if first team opportunities are not forthcoming.

It was great to go away with the first team, seeing what needs to be done to play at that level.

The first team are great at defending and when Glenn [Murray] gets his chances up front, he usually puts them away.

Just watching Glenn, and Florin [Andone] when he came on, seeing what you need to do to play in the Premier League. You have to concentrate for 90-plus minutes, or you get punished.

I need to look at those types of players and learn from them. Hopefully I can take bits out of their game and bring it into mine, and that should help me become a better player...

Ideally I’d want to stay here and push for a place in the first team, but if that doesn’t happen, then a loan move would be good for me.

With a serious dearth of attacking options currently in the Ireland squad, it is very encouraging to see a player of Connolly's ilk asserting himself at a Premier League club.

SEE ALSO: Sinn Féin TD Calls For All-Ireland Football Team In The Dáil

Gary Connaughton

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