Edmond Tapsoba: Bayer Leverkusen's Star of the Future Who Is Destined for the Big Stage

Edmond Tapsoba
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v 1. FC Union Berlin - DFB Cup | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Edmond Tapsoba, while satisfying to the ear, is perhaps not that familiar a name.

Yet, given the staggering level of performance he's turned out since arriving at Bayer Leverkusen - and the heightened attention the Bundesliga is currently afforded - that relative anonymity is surely soon to be a thing of the past.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v 1. FC Union Berlin - DFB Cup
Tapsoba hasn't missed a minute of Bundesliga action since his debut in February | Jörg Schüler/Getty Images

The 21-year-old Burkina Faso international has seamlessly slotted into Peter Bosz's team since Leverkusen snatched him away from Portuguese side Vitoria Guimarães in January.

From central defence, Tapsoba exerts an unwavering blanket of serenity as he saunters across the pitch. He's laid back without seeming disinterested. Casual but not sloppy.

While tackling is treated as a last-ditch measure, Tapsoba seems to have mastered the art of ushering the opponent unfortunate enough to come across him off the ball. Effortlessly shifting his 6'3 frame between attacker and ball for a subtle exchange of possession.

Fans of a particularly nervous disposition may endure the odd heart flutter as Tapsoba takes an extra touch or two to work an opening for a better passing option. Yet, so far he has given the Leverkusen faithful little reason to doubt him - in Monday night's demolition of Werder Bremen, Tapsoba failed to find his intended target just three times from 95 attempts.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt - Bundesliga
Only two Bundesliga players can boast a higher pass completion rate than Tapsoba's 92% of those with more than a smattering of minutes | Jörg Schüler/Getty Images

The sense of calmness he pervades stems from his reliability on the ball. Tapsoba may refrain from spraying Hollywood passes from one touchline to the other, but the simple, crisp thumps fired into his teammates' feet keeps possession ticking over, gradually moving his team up the pitch.

In this iteration of Bayer Leverkusen under Peter Bosz - the former Ajax coach who took them to the 2017 Europa League final against Manchester United - Tapsoba has joined an exciting side in the midst of a blistering run of form, seemingly unaffected by the suspension of play with a 4-1 win on Monday.

Die Werkself's possession-oriented, high-pressing style has seen them enjoy a run of nine wins from their last ten matches - incidentally, this period coincides with Tapsoba's first ten starts for the club. They're fifth in the Bundesliga - two points off third and four behind Borussia Dortmund in second - in the semi-finals of the DfB Pokal and in the last-16 of the Europa League.

Tapsoba's tactical flexibility has been invaluable for Bosz and his formation tinkering tendencies. Comfortable on either side of a three-man backline and adept in a flat back-four, the 21-year-old has rarely put a foot out of place over the course of his burgeoning Bundesliga career.

However, perhaps the one flaw to his game is a lack of blistering pace the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly or Virgil van Dijk can call upon. That's not to say Tapsoba runs through treacle, it's just an aspect of his play which, somewhat reassuringly, reveals a slither of imperfection.

Back in the final days of the January transfer window, Leverkusen weren't the only suitors cooing over Tapsoba. The Premier League duo of Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers joined their Bundesliga counterpart in a shared admiration for the straight-backed centre-half.

While prying him from Leverkusen's grasps six months down the line would require a sizeable increase on the £16m they paid for him, it's not out of the question to suggest his displays have tempted such action.

Should Leicester's Çağlar Söyüncü live up to his agent's ambitious transfer speculation, Tapsoba would act as a ready-made replacement for the Turkey international - although a move to their fellow midlanders would perhaps act as an even better fit.

Caglar Soyuncu
Çağlar Söyüncü has reportedly attracted interest from a host of Premier League clubs | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Under Nuno Espírito Santo, Wolves have stormed the top flight and, should the season resume, could feasibly improve upon their impressive seventh-placed finish last year. This success has almost exclusively been achieved with a three-man backline - a system Tapsoba has already shown himself more than capable within.

With Willy Boly perennially on the cusp of a move away, and the pair of Romain Saïss and Ryan Bennett the wrong side of 30, Tapsoba's youth and ability to slot straight into first-team action make him an ideal target.

Arsenal, a side in desperate need of the stability Tapsoba's presence would immediately bring, could similarly benefit from the addition of Leverkusen's defensive rock. Although, with doubts remaining over the size of their budget, it seems the Gunners will focus on free agents in the upcoming window.

For now, Tapsoba remains a Bayer Leverkusen player. Calmly trotting across the pitch, swiftly separating opponents from the ball in front of empty stands but a global audience. Giving fans of Die Werkself a chance to soak up his glittering displays for the rest of the campaign, but who knows how long after that.