Liverpool have announced a first professional contract for under-18s forward Melkamu Frauendorf, who impressed in his maiden campaign following a move from Hoffenheim.
Frauendorf made the switch from Hoffenheim last year, agreeing an initial scholarship with the Reds and taking a place in Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s U18s squad.
The 17-year-old caught the eye early on, but injuries hampered his progress mid-season, eventually scoring seven goals and laying on four assists in 23 appearances.
Only four players netted more than Frauendorf in Liverpool’s academy ranks, with the Germany youth international firing against Ipswich and Aston Villa in the semi-final and final of the FA Youth Cup respectively.
Though born in Ethiopia, the youngster represents Germany having moved there as a child with his family, and he has worn the captain’s armband for his country in the past.
A versatile forward who can also play in midfield, Frauendorf has trained with the first team on a number of occasions though is likely to begin the new season with the U18s.
He is the latest to sign a first professional contract with the club this summer, following the likes of Mateusz Musialowski, Harvey Davies, Fabian Mrozek, Luke Chambers and Oakley Cannonier.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo last year, Fraundorf’s old Hoffenheim coach Danny Galm hailed his former protege as a “special player.”
“Mel is a very flexible player. He is straightforward with a good technique and very, very good endurance. He didn’t score the most goals, but he was involved in almost all offensive actions,” Galm said.
“For me, he was a very important player, who often initiated decisive moments with his dynamic and straight dribbling.
“I’m not a fan of comparing players to others but Mel is a special player. He is fast and has good endurance, and he wants to learn, but remains creative.
“He will develop physically in the next months and will grow [in responsibility] in Liverpool. I will follow his development and I hope he will soon experience the spirit of Anfield.”