Eintracht Frankfurt initially looked like the big loser of this transfer summer. But meanwhile the SBU is on the way to becoming the transfer master of the Bundesliga. What the Hessians do around sports director Markus Krösche makes sense. An overview.
Not FC Bayern Munich, not Borussia Dortmund and not RB Leipzig anyway – the big winner of the transfer summer could be Eintracht Frankfurt within the Bundesliga.
While the competition is largely struggling to maintain or even improve on the level of the past season, the SBU makes one wise decision after the other. After the successes in various cup competitions, this season it will be about establishing yourself in the Bundesliga where you actually belong: in the top four.
SPOX does the check and explains why Eintracht is on the right track, at least on paper – and what challenges still loom.
Eintracht Frankfurt: painful departures
At first it didn’t look as if Frankfurt would make the leap to the big winners of this transfer window. Eventually you lose some key players. Evan Ndicka and Daichi Kamada are on a free transfer – the central defender for AS Roma, with the offensive man from Japan it is still unclear where the journey is going.
Randal Kolo Muani could also leave the SBU, which is more of a proof of the outstanding transfer policy of recent years in terms of strategic orientation. The Frenchman came on a free transfer last summer and should now bring in a transfer fee towards the 100 million euro mark.
Money that can then be reinvested. Or you decide to spend another year together and benefit from his sporting quality. After all, the 24-year-old’s contract doesn’t end until 2027.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Young talents strengthen the squad of the SBU
Especially since the squad is already making a strong impression. For relatively little money, Eintracht was able to add to key positions. Eintracht transferred around nine million euros to Royal Antwerp for Willian Pacho.
Replacing Ndicka directly will certainly be a challenge for the 21-year-old, but his potential is huge. Above all, the central defender brings a quality that has been neglected in the Frankfurt squad in recent years: a courageous and strong opening of the game. Pacho likes to take control of the game and take responsibility with the ball at his feet.
At Antwerp, alongside the seasoned Toby Alderweireld, he gained important experience that could help him make the leap to the Bundesliga. “He has everything you need as a defender,” explained sporting director Markus Krösche to the club media: “We now want to develop his great potential.” A transfer from the Eintracht playbook.
This also applies to the signing of Hugo Larsson. The 19-year-old Swede took the Adlerträger from Malmö FF for nine million euros. A pattern is also emerging with the central midfielder: Frankfurt wants to invest more in opening the game. Larsson’s strengths lie primarily in the distribution of the ball.
He can be used on the six or eight and is always looking to play progressive passes and drive his own team’s play forward. Last season, Frankfurt had many tacklers and athletes in midfield, but not enough players who had the overview and calmness on the ball to create an orderly structure of the game.
Eintracht Frankfurt: The king transfer of the SBU is free of charge
The king transfer to that effect is Ellyes Skhiri. In addition to all the young newcomers, Frankfurt has deliberately strengthened itself with experienced players from whom stability can be expected. Skhiri was one of the best midfielders in the league last season.
At 1. FC Köln he was a playmaker, tackler and fill-in at the same time. Skhiri masters the fine blade with the ball at his foot as well as the rough one when working without it. He could be the six that Eintracht hadn’t had for many years and that makes their own game more multifaceted and more difficult to calculate.
The issue of stability also includes the fact that Frankfurt has established other constants with Ansgar Knauff (5 million euros), Phiipp Max (1.9 million euros) and Robin Koch (loan from Leeds United). Knauff and Max have already proven that they can help the team, while Koch comes with a lot of experience.
The 26-year-old has performed under the radar in the Premier League in recent years. He is ready for a leadership role in central defense and can be a support for young players like newly signed Pacho.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Transfers for the width and returnees
SBU Junior has also committed Dina Ebimbe from Paris Saint-Germain (6.5 million euros). He wasn’t 100% convincing during his loan spell, but there’s no question that he can use his talent to broaden the squad and then continue to develop.
With Omar Marmoush, Frankfurt has also ensured that there are more options in attack. The 24-year-old has not achieved outstanding values in a total of 62 Bundesliga games with eight goals and six assists, but with his speed and technical skills he is always someone who can be brought off the bench to give the game a new rhythm . Especially since he can be used in almost all offensive positions.
And now U21 national striker Jessic Ngankam from Hertha BSC has joined them. As the SBU announced on Friday, the 22-year-old signed a contract until 2028. “As a young and developable player with great potential, Jessic fits our strategy perfectly,” said Krösche: “We are pleased that despite other interesting offers Eintracht Frankfurt decided.”
Eintracht Frankfurt: How good is Dino Toppmöller?
Perhaps the most important newcomer this summer is Dino Toppmöller. For years, the 42-year-old was Julian Nagelsmann’s assistant coach, now he’s taking the step to head coach. He also gave insights into his basic idea: “We want to play with high intensity and passion and be a positive troublemaker.”
What that means in detail remains to be seen. Together with Nagelsmann, Toppmöller worked both in Leipzig and at Bayern, primarily on fast-paced attacking football that focused on counter-pressing and quick transitions. A style that goes very well with Eintracht.
Nevertheless, the newcomers show that they are aware of the growing reputation within the league. Frankfurt now has to determine the rhythm in many games themselves. This requires a good structure in ball possession phases and ideas to get a deep opponent moving.
The signing of Oliver Glasner was already a step in this direction. Eintracht developed noticeably last season – but reached their limits in some positions due to the types of players. This could change now.
The big question will be how good Toppmöller actually is as a head coach. It was always heard from those around FC Bayern that he was not only a nice and affable guy, but that he was also able to communicate ideas and ideas clearly. We now have to prove that in Frankfurt.
Eintracht Frankfurt: That is the biggest challenge for the SBU
Proving is the keyword. Because as good as this transfer summer looks on paper so far, it will be challenging for everyone involved to cope with the somewhat larger upheaval.
For the SBU it will be a matter of putting the individual pieces of the puzzle together as quickly as possible. There could be minor friction, especially at the start of the season. Which player goes where in the squad and which talents can show immediately that they strengthen the squad?
But if that succeeds, Eintracht can look forward to another great season. In any case, with the previous transfers, they seem to underline that they are to be expected. “The goal is to play regularly internationally,” Krösche explained his own claim: “And we want to get as far as possible in the Conference League and in the cup. That’s what we’re committed to.”
International could soon mean competing for the Champions League places. At least in the medium term, that must be the claim of a club that is increasingly breaking away from the underdog image. Frankfurt could already attack the top 4 this season.