Alou Kuol is officially Bundesliga bound.
VFB Stuttgart and the Central Coast Mariners announced earlier today that they had reached an agreement over the transfer of the young striker, bringing an end to weeks of speculation.
Despite making just five starts since his debut last year, Kuol has been a breakout star, capturing hearts and minds with his raw potential, exuberant personality and his inspiring journey. Born in Khartoum in Sudan, Kuol and his family left the war-torn country when he was just three years old, making the journey to Australia via Egypt, before eventually settling city of Shepparton in rural Victoria.
It was here that the youngster started his senior football career, making headlines and catching the eye of A-League clubs with an incredible return of 22 goals in 26 games for NPL2 side Goulburn Valley Suns, winning the Golden Boot aged just 18.
Melbourne Victory and Western United both took him on trial, but passed, before he was offered a deal by the struggling Mariners. After impressing for their Y-League academy side, he was given a chance in the first team and hasn’t looked back.
The 19 year old has played a huge part in the Mariners turnaround this season, netting seven goals and setting up a further two in just 16 appearances. The young striker has started just four of those games, utilised mostly as an impact sub by head coach Alen Stajcic, but his injection of pace, his driving runs and his aerial ability have proved devastating for A-League defences.
Despite playing just 665 minutes of A-League football, he has clearly shown enough to catch the “diamond eye’ of Stuttgart Sporting Director Sven Mislintat, the former Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal talent scout who unearthed the likes of Aubameyang and Lewandowski.
As exciting as he is, Kuol is undoubtedly still a raw talent, but in Stuttgart, he will be joining a Bundesliga giant with a proven track record of developing exciting young talent. The likes of Bernd Leno, Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich all spent time learning their craft at Die Roten, and if Kuol can emulate the development of any of these superstars in his time at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, he will be one of Australia’s finest exports.
Stuttgart announced Kuol had signed a four year deal on a free transfer, though it is believed, per Vince Rugari, that the Mariners have received “significant’ training compensation and have sell on-clauses written into the deal.
Kuol will remain on the Central Coast until the end of the season, before heading to Stuttgart, where he is expected to be part of their Under 21s team.