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Chelsea forward David Datro Fofana has failed to hit the ground running after joining Bundesliga side Union Berlin on loan for the season, and the club’s chief has opened up on his tough time in Germany. The 20-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge from Molde in January for just over £10million, but struggled to break into the team and it was decided that he would leave in search of first-team football.
Union Berlin were picked as the chosen destination after their fourth-placed finish in Germany last season, allowing Fofana to play Champions League football while Chelsea were out of any European competition. However, he has failed to find the back of the net in eight appearances and is seemingly lacking confidence in front of goal.
The club’s sporting director Oliver Ruhnert has offered an explanation as to why the loan has not worked out so far, citing “private problems”.
“Changing the results is not that easy for a young player,” Ruhnert told German outlet Tag24. “He also had private problems at times. A little something came together. He also lacks a bit of goal to give him self-confidence.”
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Fofana was given a handful of appearances at Chelsea under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard, but he was keen to play on a regular basis elsewhere and thought he found a perfect fit with Union Berlin. And after an early assist in the DFB Pokal it seemed that he found the ideal landing spot after opening up on the efforts that the German side made to land him.
“Union have developed extremely strongly in the last few years and it excites me a lot to be a part of this in the coming season,” said Fofana on his move back in the summer. “The club has made a long and hard effort to find me and now I want to repay that with good performances.”
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But he is struggling to find the back of the net at a time when the entire team has failed to live up to last season’s form, as they currently languish 13th in the table.
Union Berlin won their first two league games before going on a five-match losing run, including their most recent 4-2 defeat at Borussia Dortmund where Fofana was dropped to the bench.
However, many strikers – especially those still learning their trade – go through peaks and troughs throughout their careers. Although Fofana is yet to hit the ground running in Germany, having struggled from “private problems”, it may just take one goal to turn his fortunes around with Chelsea keeping a watchful eye over his progress.
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