It was announced earlier today that Huddersfield Town had signed Florent Hadergjonaj from FC Ingolstadt, making him their twelfth signing of the summer.
After Andy Yiadom’s move to Huddersfield broke down, David Wagner wasted little time finding an alternative as he turned to the 23-year-old Swiss right-back.
This piece looks to offer some insight into who Florent Hadergjonaj is, his career up until now and what to expect.
Who is Florent Hadergjonaj?
Born in the small village of Langnau im Emmental, a municipal district of Bern, Florent Hadergjonaj began his footballing career from an early age in Switzerland.
Hadergjonaj’s youth career was one of progression as he spent spells at FC Langnau, FC Thun, and FC Luzern before settling at BSC Young Boys.
After spending two years progressing through Young Boys academy system, Hadergjonaj was rewarded when he made his senior debut in a 1-0 defeat to FC Zurich.
Despite only making eleven Swiss Super League appearances during the 13/14 season, it was clear the talent that he possessed as one of Switzerland’s brightest young talents.
The following season, he proceeded to be an ever present in the Young Boys side in both the Swiss Super League and the Europa League. This led to the then 20-year-old full-back receiving the prestigious accolade as Young Boys player of the season.
After two excellent seasons for Young Boys, Hadergjonaj began to attract attention from a number of clubs in Germany. Eventually, Ingolstadt won the race for the Swiss full-back.
Despite Ingolstadt’s relegation last season, Hadergjonaj was one of the stand-out performers for Die Schanzer which saw him make his international debut for Switzerland. After such an impressive season on a personal level, it was seemingly inevitable that he would leave this summer.
It was expected that Hadergjonaj would remain in Germany as a number of Bundesliga sides were monitoring the 23-year-old right-back. However, instead, he has opted to make the switch to England to further add to Town’s continental European contingent.
The Boss’ view
When asked about Town’s latest signing, Huddersfield Town Head Coach David Wagner commented:
“It was important in this window that we found a real competitor for the right back position and in Florent, we have exactly the right player.
“Florent is one of the most exciting young right backs in Germany and is a footballer who I believe will fit our system and style of play very well. He is a real Terrier in defence and likes to attack whenever possible, which is perfect for how we want to play.
“I have met with him and he is a good character; he is eager to show he can play in the Premier League despite a lot of interest from some top clubs in Germany. I’m looking forward to working with him on the training pitch.”
The Expert’s view
After the news broke that Florent Hadergjonaj had signed for Town, I got in touch with Jonny Walsh of Bundesliga Fanatic to get his views on the move.
How would you describe Hadergjonaj’s playing style?
“He’s quite an attacking full-back who enjoys getting forward and has been used to playing in a back three with Ingolstadt. I’m sure playing in a four is no real issue either and he would work well then with whoever is ahead of him”.
How did he perform last season?
“After he came to Ingolstadt, he performed really well. Once he got settled, he showed his worth and was a key player in their late run to beat the drop as they narrowly fell short. He still has plenty of time to grow and the fact that many Bundesliga clubs were interested shows the impression he made”.
Do you think he suits Wagner’s style?
“I think the attacking full-back suits Wagner’s style a lot and he should fit that bill well. He offers a really solid rotation option with Tommy Smith and I can see those two working well off each other in competition as the season progresses”.
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
“Attacking and crossing are his main strengths, which should play into Town’s hands with a forward like Mounie. However, he lacks a little in terms of defensive capabilities and positioning but that could be the main area that Wagner looks to work on as time goes on. The loan with a view to permanent makes it a good deal in that sense”.
Will he be a success at Town?
As David Wagner’s mantra states he wants two players for every position. From the beginning of the summer, it has been clear that Town needed a right-back to provide cover and competition for club captain Tommy Smith.
Whilst both Andy Yiadom and Dimitri Cavare were heavily linked, in fact, David Wagner opted to return to the German market for Florent Hadergjonaj.
With athleticism and an ability to nip ahead of the opposition winger, similarities can be drawn between himself and Town fan favourite Chris Löwe.
Despite his diminutive nature, David Wagner spoke highly of Florent Hadergjonaj and with a real tenacity to bite into tackles, he encapsulates the ‘Terrier Spirit’.
Other similarities can be drawn between Florent Hadergjonaj and Chris Löwe. The Swiss right-back’s calmness on the ball and adventurous nature to support attacks will see him fit into Town’s system seamlessly.
As well as being a forward thinking defender, Hadergjonaj’s end product, especially his crossing ability will be an attribute that could prove extremely useful with someone of Steve Mounié’s calibre being on the receiving end.
Like Scott Malone and Chris Löwe, Florent Hadergjonaj will provide serious competition for that starting right-back berth.
If Hadergjonaj does particularly impress, we could see him displace Tommy Smith in the starting lineup or we could see Smith thrive from the threat of the competition and raise his performance levels even higher like Chris Löwe has.
From the outside looking it, it appears that Florent Hadergjonaj is Town’s latest astute signing. With youthful exuberance and hunger to succeed, as well as having natural ability and the raw talent to be a success both in England and the Premier League, Hadergjonaj will further add quality and depth to Town’s squad.