The Bundesliga club’s recruitment team were enchanted by his confidence bringing the ball out from the back and maturity on the field at such a young age.
Now he is the heartbeat of the Leverkusen defence – that also includes former United academy graduate Timothy Fosu-Mensah – and has played every minute of league action this season, besides the two games he missed due to coronavirus in late November.
His current deal contains a release clause believed to be in the region of £44m and Leverkusen are not willing to listen to any offers below that figure and would like to tie him down to an improved contract.
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Yet the Premier League champions were told by Leverkusen that they had to pay the £44m release clause in full if they wanted to pursue a deal.
Leicester and Wolves are among those to have watched the player in the past year, something that Tapsoba has been made aware of and the latter are understood to be eyeing a summer deal.
The Foxes have since cooled their interest since completing the signing of Wesley Fofana from Saint-Etienne.
“However, I spoke to my mentor Boureima Maiga and he emphasised that it is important that I do not skip any steps in my development. Switching to the Premier League, where I might not play, would not have been a good idea.”
Tapsoba’s willingness to bring the ball out from the back as opposed to kicking it long stems from his unlikely idol: John Stones.
When asked who he used to watch as a kid growing up, Tapsoba named the Manchester City defender when speaking with the Bundesliga’s official website.
“I would say Per Mertesacker, from Germany, is a player that I liked a lot when I was younger,” he said.
“When I started to grow older I liked John Stones a lot too. I watched all the videos on YouTube. I would say that’s what inspired me.
“I also wanted to help my family, because they deserve it very much. They inspired me to work hard every single day.”