Niklas Sule believes his long-time friend Leon Goretzka can become a “leading player” at Bayern Munich in the years to come.
The 22-year-old Schalke midfielder tallied five goals and three assists last season and has followed that up with four league goals already in 2017-18.
Those performances made Goretzka a hot commodity this season with his contract running down, and he eventually decided to sign a pre-contract with Bayern, shunning reported interest from the Premier League to remain in Germany.
And Sule, who joined Bayern from Hoffenheim following the end of the 2016-17 season and has appeared in 15 Bundesliga contests this season, is excited at the chance to link up with his Germany team-mate on the club level.
"Leon has been a very good friend of mine for years,” Sule told Goal and Omnisport. “I am so happy that he comes to us.”
Beyond friendship, Sule believes Goretzka has the quality to become a top player at Bayern, evidenced by his performances for the Germany youth national side.
“Due to his quality, he can become a leading player here,” Sule added. “He is someone who is going ahead. This has already been seen in the U16 national team. When he on the pitch, he was ahead of the rest.
“Leon is a very good transfer for Bayern and I am firmly convinced that he will prevail."
Sule also spoke positively of another attacking player, James Rodriguez, who joined Bayern over the summer after falling out of favour at Real Madrid.
James has battled injuries this season but has made a positive impact in his 14 Bundesliga appearances for the club, scoring three goals and adding six assists — already matching his Liga assist total from last season.
And Sule sees unique quality in the Colombia international's ability to deliver passes with pinpoint accuracy — something that has made him a target of the world’s elite clubs.
"You can see that James has an outstanding left foot, he hits the crosses exactly to the striker's head,” Sule said. “That does not exist that often. It was no accident he played at Real Madrid and is now under contract at Bayern.
“He helps us a lot, he often brings calm to the game and he can draw three or four opponents so there is space on the wings.
“He moves the ball well and has been simply outstanding since he is here."