BSC Young Boys defender Kevin Mbabu will join VfL Wolfsburg in the summer, signing on a four-year-contract. The 24-year-old will leave the Swiss champions once the summer transfer window opens, leaving his native Switzerland for the Bundesliga.
It is a thoroughly deserved move for Mbabu, who has burst onto the Swiss football scene over the past few years. He was once among the ranks at Newcastle United, who signed him as a 17-year-old in 2013. However he only mustered five senior appearances for the Magpies, and had an unsuccessful loan spell at Rangers.
It was not until Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez sent him on a season-long loan to Young Boys in 2016 that Mbabu really flourished. The Bern-based club signed him permanently the following season, which turned out to be a career defining moment for him.
Mbabu instantly helped bring success back to Young Boys, as they won the Swiss Super League title for the first time in 32 years. They went on to qualify for the Champions League group stage for the first time in their 121-year history, before also recently securing back to back titles earlier this month.
Mbabu’s excellent form didn’t go unnoticed, as Switzerland manager Vladimir Petković awarded him his senior debut last September. Mbabu is now an established player in Petković’s squad, as he begins to take over from national team captain Stephan Lichtsteiner as first choice right back.
Mbabu has now earned four caps for the Schweizer Nati, and is likely to be called up for this summer’s Nations League finals.
After winning back to back Swiss titles, making his international debut and winning the Swiss Super League Player of the Year all within the space of two years, Mbabu’s move to Wolfsburg is the pinnacle of his meteoric rise.
Still just 24-years-old, he already has European and international experience and has huge potential for the future.
Mbabu should flourish in the Bundesliga, where many of his countrymen have furthered their careers. The most notable one is Ricardo Rodríguez, who also joined Wolfsburg in 2012 from FC Zürich. Many of Switzerland’s best players have hugely benefitted from playing their football in Germany, and Mbabu can certainly do the same at a club like Wolfsburg.
Now that Mbabu has earned his true breakthrough move, Newcastle can only be frustrated with themselves. They will regret letting go of such a talented full back, who could turn into one of the best in his position in the coming years.
Although it just didn’t work out for Mbabu on Tyneside, Newcastle will no doubt think about what they could’ve had.
Now is the time for Mbabu to truly prove himself. We have already seen hints of his promise in the Champions League, but now is his chance to take a huge step in his career. If his sharp rise to stardom is anything to go by, Mbabu will thrive in Germany - where he will enjoy the next step in a potentially prosperous and hugely successful career.