If you assumed Silas Wamangituka’s stunning solo goal against Mainz in January was one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ moments, think again.
Only three days after he set off from just outside his own penalty area, carrying the ball 80 yards up the pitch before smashing a venomous finish past the keeper, Stuttgart’s fleet-footed Frenchman repeated the trick during a DFB Pokal clash with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Skipping past World Cup winner Christoph Kramer on the halfway line, Wamangituka breezed past two more Gladbach defenders and slotted home in style.
Two games, two goals from inside his own half. Ryan Giggs brandished his ample chest hair for less.
And, for Stuttgart’s sporting director, the similarities between Wamangituka and another gleaming diamond he discovered during his talent-spotting days at Dortmund are becoming impossible to ignore.
“There are some differences between them, of course, but also many, many similar things,” Sven Mislintat told the Bundesliga website when asked to compare Wamangituka with a certain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Like the Arsenal captain, Stuttgart’s £7 million talisman started out as a number nine before drifting out wide, embracing a tactical shift designed to get the best out of his explosive pace.
The results have been remarkable.
In total, Wamangituka has scored a hugely impressive 13 goals in 24 games this season, attracting interest from Everton, Fulham and some of Germany’s bonafide big-hitters (EuroSport).
However, according to Mislintat it’s Wamangituka’s work rate and insatiable desire for self-improvement that mark him out as a special talent.
“(Auba) learned quite a lot also from Jurgen Klopp in working defensively. If (forwards) adopt this and they are able to do this, they will become big, big stars in football with their qualities and mindsets.
“And this is what Silas did as well.
“Auba is more of a killer but, to be honest, he hadn’t (been a) hit at the age of 19 or 20 like Silas. Silas has become better and better and improved quite a lot.
“He is quieter (than Aubameyang) but very focused. He listens, he learns a lot. He knows exactly what he is. He’s aggressive. He is a winner.”
Dortmund managed to hang on to Aubameyang for five years before Arsenal came calling.
It would be a major surprise if Stuttgart can do the same with their own jet-heeled frontman.
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