Stuttgart: the unexpected return to favor of former Titi Dan-Axel Zagadou


By: Manu Tournoux

The Titi has grown a lot. Great hope of Paris Saint-Germain, Dan-Axel Zagadou decided to see if the grass was greener elsewhere in 2017. Like many talents of the capital club barred by competition, he took the direction of the Germany, which does not hesitate to highlight young players. And it was Borussia Dortmund who managed to lure him into their nets. But his adventure among the Marsupials was not a long, quiet river. In addition to the competition, the young defender was handicapped by several injuries which made his stay less pleasant.

A time at BVB marked by injuries

In five years, the player born in 99 has totaled 625 days off work, including 196 after knee surgery in 2021. According to the specialist site transfermarkt, he missed 77 BVB matches, being on the flank 12 times. In total, he played 94 matches in all competitions for the German club. Time to score 4 goals and deliver 1 assist. At the end of his contract in June 2022, Zagadou set out in search of a new challenge. AS Roma had tested the waters with those around them. But he decided to stay in Germany.

Indeed, the native of Créteil signed a 4-year lease with the team which aimed to remain in the Bundesliga. An obvious choice for the 24-year-old player as he explained recently during an interview given to the official PSG website. “Although having played a lot of matches with Dortmund in five years (92 appearances, 4 goals), I was also often injured. The opportunity to join Stuttgart presented itself, I did not hesitate for a single second to accept this challenge. It’s never easy to bounce back from injuries. Proposals are becoming rarer.”

Zagadou is back in shape

Determined to get off to a good start, the former PSG player played 18 games, including 16 as a starter during his first season. But once again, his body betrayed him. He was stopped 4 times during the season (2 times because he was ill, editor’s note). He hasn’t had any major problems, apart from a ruptured ankle ligament last January. He was absent for 29 days (43 days of absence, 7 matches missed over the entire 2022-23 financial year). Determined to leave his problems behind him, Zagadou threw himself into this new season.

A season where his team achieves great things and is in a good third place (34 points). For this, it relies on a fiery attack led by Serhou Guirassy, ​​author of 19 goals in all competitions this season including 17 in the Bundesliga. VfB Stuttgart can also count on the fourth best defense in the championship (19 goals conceded), behind Bayer Leverkusen (12 goals conceded), Bayern Munich (15 goals conceded) and RB Leipzig (17 goals conceded). Zagadou is no stranger to this great pass from his club.

He conquered Germany

Author of 19 appearances in all competitions, including 16 as a starter (1 goal), he is gaining momentum and confirms the hopes placed in him. Journalist for Football TransfersTobias Feldhoff is won over. “He behaves and plays very well. Since he doesn’t have any injuries or other fitness issues, it’s really good. Sometimes he still takes a little too many risks with his passes. But it is part of the unexpected success of the VfB.” Enough to bring joy to a player who has experienced several complicated moments due to numerous injuries.

“This club has been very irregular in recent years, vegetating between the 1st and 2nd division. Last season, we held on in the play-offs against Hamburg! This year, we have had a very good start to the season with a 2nd place after seven contested days. There is very good cohesion between all the players. The average age is relatively young. The staff shows great understanding and real closeness. Everything is going well! The fans are also amazing, with one of the best atmospheres in the country. We will do everything to make them as happy as possible!”

A clause that changes everything

And to achieve this, DAZ pays attention to all the details, he who admitted to having changed since leaving PSG. “Today’s Zagadou is much more involved off the field. I have gained in maturity, that’s undeniable. I don’t hesitate to take more time for care. I give more importance to my nutrition and rest. I adopt the behavior of a true high-level athlete. I only focus on football. I avoid spreading myself too thin by responding to various requests.”

However, it risks being in high demand in the coming weeks or even months. Indeed, the player under contract until June 2026 benefits from a very advantageous departure clause just like Guirassy, ​​according to Sky Germany. For the French defender, he will be able to leave Stuttgart this summer if a club pays a transfer fee of 15 million euros. The VfB will have no opportunity to negotiate. A very interesting deal for teams looking for young, talented and solid reinforcement. Coming back from afar, Dan-Axel Zagadou, who declared that PSG taught him to never give up, is putting into practice the lesson learned in Paris.

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