Young Freiburg defender Matthias Ginter has been labeled the "new Per Mertesacker". Perhaps that is what persuaded Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to pursue the 19-year-old for most of the summer. Whatever the future holds for Ginter, he is almost certain to be one of the best players of his generation.
The Freiburg starlet has just forced his way into Germany's under-21 side and is tipped to eventually progress through to the full German national side. In Germany, Ginter has been compared to the likes of Per Mertesacker already. A fearless centre back who shows the positional awareness of an experienced international already, the 6 foot 2 defender has been influential at the heart of Freiburg's defence since playing his first game for his team back in 2012. Ginter's strong physique does not prevent the defender from an impeccable change of pace and his read of the game is outstanding for such a young player.
Ginter made his debut for his current club back in January of 2012 and scored his first goal in professional football on his debut. With that goal, Ginter became the youngest goalscorer in Freiburg's history. At Freiburg, Ginter has often been deployed in defensive midfield but it is well known that Ginter prefers to play in the heart of the back four where he can take control of all defensive play for his side.
The 19-year-old tough tackling defender came very close to securing a move away from Freiburg to Arsenal, but the player decided against a move to the Emirates as he wanted to play first team football week in week out at this early stage of his career. Instead, Arsenal are believed to have secured the first option on his coveted signature already. As part of the discussions this summer, Freiburg have already taken a player on loan from the Gunners, with Francis Coquelin joining the German side on loan for the year. Borussia Dortmund are also monitoring the young defender but Arsenal are believed to be favourites to secure his signature.
Freiburg have invested in their youth facilities heavily over the past 10 years, part of the reason for the regular conveyor belt of young talent coming out of the Black Forest side. Ginter could well be the best that the club has so far produced, though.
One thing is for sure, football fans should take note of Ginter and remember the name; he is sure to be one we will be hearing a lot about in the future.