Jan Tilman Kirchhoff
Date & Place Of Birth
Jan was born on the first of October 1990 in Frankfurt, West Germany.
After being handed a scholarship at FSV Mainz, Kirchhoff progressed through the youth system at the Rhineland club, playing first for their reserve team.
In late 2008 Kirchhoff was handed his debut in a match against Rot Weiss Ahlen, and played between the senior side and their reserve team (who play in the German lower leagues) before becoming a mainstay in the first string in the 2011-2012 season.
In the 2012-2013 season Kirchhoff was plagued with thigh injuries which saw him miss sixteen games for Mainz, but it wasn't enough to deter Bayern Munich from signing him, as he joined the German giants on a free transfer that summer having agreed upon a pre-contract during the winter.
Since joining Bayern he's featured sparingly, only making seven first team appearances in the 2013-2014 season before joining another big Bundesliga club, Schalke, on an eighteen-month loan deal.
After playing just twice for The Royal Blues Kirchhoff was injured again and missed the remainder of the season.
Last season Kirchoff returned to fitness at Schalke and cemented down a first team place - playing both in the league and the Champions League - but was again plagued by injury, and found himself sidelined for the majority of the campaign with Achilles issues. Kirchhoff finally had corrective surgery in early 2015, which saw him sidelined until October.
Although Jan has a long history of injury problems, it appears he's now back to full fitness following the surgery on his achilles. He's been back in training and fit for selection at Bayern Munich for a number of months now, but has seen his playing time limited to just one appearance for their reserve side and one start for the first team in the domestic cup competition.
With his issues now behind him, Kirchoff is understandably keen to get back to playing regular football.
Kirchhoff is an accomplished German youth international and represented his country at a number of age groups - he was widely tipped to go on and play for the Germany senior side but the amount of playing time he's missed through injury has hindered his career.
Physically, What Is He Like?
Kirchhoff stands at 6"5, so he's no Milton Nunez.
He's rather tall.
What Position Does He Play?
Kirchhoff is primarily a central defender but has played in defensive midfield in the past. Although Kirchhoff is strong and bullish in the air he's also known to be technically very good with the ball, hence why he has often played in midfield.
Should he come to Sunderland, however, I'd be surprised if we see him play anywhere other than in the middle of Sam Allardyce's defence.
How Has He Fared This Season?
Miserably. As stated before, Kirchhoff has only recently recovered from corrective Achilles surgery so has seen his playing time limited. He's been behind some world class defenders in Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng and Medhi Benatia, so we'll let him off - it's a bit like that time Russell Anderson couldn't force his way into the team past Nyron Nosworthy and Paul McShane. It happens.
Where Would He Fit In Sam Allardyce's Side?
Well, over the years Sam has been partial to a big no-nonsense centre back and I suspect that's exactly what we'd be getting with Kirchhoff. John O'Shea and Wes Brown aren't getting any younger and Younes Kaboul is barely fit so adding another player to the ranks who brings similar attributes to the players mentioned makes sense.
It's important now we look towards the future and by signing a player still in his mid-twenties it would somewhat suggest that we're attempting to do just that, even if his injury record makes for pretty horrific reading.
Very little video footage of Jan exists, funnily enough.
Skip to the hour mark here in order to see him come on against Real Madrid, where he played in defensive midfield:
Also, he does score pretty amazing own goals, so he should fit right in here:
Should Kirchhoff complete all the formalities, pass a medical and sign on the dotted line he will be the first signing Sam Allardyce has made since joining the club last year. With Lee Congerton now out of the door it would also represent the first post-Congers era incoming transfer and that, to me, makes this pretty significant.
Sam Allardyce is choosing the players that come in and out of the club now and I am fully behind him. Although on paper signing a player like Kirchhoff appears to be rather sketchy - largely due his injury record which has seen him miss so much football in recent years - Sam has a proven track record in the transfer market at other clubs and I trust his judgement here.
Kirchhoff's Bayern Munich contract is up in the summer, so the rumoured fee for the player is relatively low. This will go one of two ways (again, should it even happen) - Kirchhoff will slot straight in to the side and represent an absolute bargain, or his injury problems will continue to plague him and we'll be left in the lurch again come the summer. There's no doubting his ability.
The medical examination he'll undergo today at the Academy of Light is key. Should the club doctors suspect that his Achilles injury problems are not fully behind him, we won't follow through with the transfer - we've seen a number of potential signings knocked back due to failed medicals this year, and I'd suspect that with his long history of issues the club will be looking at him closely before making any decisions.
Should Kirchhoff stay fit, he could be exactly what we need - although he's apparently handy with the ball at his feet he's big, physical and good in the air. I'm going to trust Big Sam with this one.