Leeds broke its transfer record this January to land the French center-forward. £35.5m is hefty sum for a club like Leeds to fork over, but having previously worked with strikers such as Erling Haaland and Christopher Nkunku, manager Jesse Marsch must have recognized something that he likes in Rutter. What can we expect from the young attacker, and should we consider him for our fantasy teams?
Let’s explore his background and discuss his real-life and fantasy potential now that he’s plying his trade at Elland Road.
Date of Birth: April 20, 2002 (20 years old)
National player: France U21
Rutter started his professional career in 2020 when he was promoted to Rennes’ first team from the academy. He did not start or score in any Ligue 1 matches, but he did score in his Champions League debut against Sevilla in December that year.
In 2021, Rutter transferred to Bundesliga side TSG Hoffenheim for a fee of only 750k Euros. He introduced himself by scoring in his debut, just three minutes after being subbed in. He went on to notch eight goals plus two assists in 33 appearances, which resulted in his nomination for the “Golden Boy” later that year, an honor awarded to the world’s best player under the age of 21. In 2022, he was selected to the French U-21 team and made his debut in March against Faroe Islands.
An athletic 6-footer, Rutter is a well-rounded attacker who can dribble and shoot with both feet. He is comfortable playing with his back to goal but can also create threats from the flank. He has been clocked at 35.5 km/hr, among the fastest in the Bundesliga. He works hard off the ball, pressing and winning tackles high up the pitch. The official Bundesliga website has compared him to Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry, and others have likened him to Roberto Firmino.
His pace and dribbling skills make him a nightmare for defenders, while his versatility (he can play anywhere across the front three) and positive attitude make him a dream for managers.
Skilled and fast, Rutter is among the most dangerous 1 v 1 attackers in football. His 5.74 attempted dribbles per 95 minutes place him among the top 1% of forwards in Europe’s top five leagues, and his 2.50 completed dribbles per 95 minutes rival Kylian Mbappe’s 2.60.
One thing Rutter is not, however, is a prolific scorer. He has netted just twice for Hoffenheim this campaign, sporting an xG of just 0.26 per 95 minutes. So although Leeds shelled out a club-record transfer fee for him, it’s doubtful that Rutter could unseat leading scorer Rodrigo or Marsch’s preferred striker Patrick Bamford in the No. 9 role.
Instead. the Frenchman appears destined for the wing, but competition is fierce there. It is unlikely that he could pry Wilfried Gnonto and the Italian’s current form out of his berth on the left, and elsewhere Rutter would have to compete with exciting and talented young players such as Brenden Aaronson, Luis Sinisterra, and Crysencio Summerville to break into the starting line-up.
His versatility will benefit him here, as he can not only line up anywhere across the front three, but he can also drop back to function as a withdrawn striker or perhaps even as a #10. His xA of 0.14 per 95 and 14 chance-creating dribbles this season indicate that he could fill the role of creator and supplier on this Leeds team. His willingness to press and tackle will suit Marsch’s philosophy as well.
If Marsch can utilize Rutter’s 1 v 1 abilities to penetrate before delivering service or cutting into the box, then perhaps he will eventually manifest some FPL potential. Same story if the gaffer can develop him into a more clinical striker. But given his historical lack of end-product, it’s possible that Rutter may never become a viable FPL asset even if he eventually nails down a role as a regular starter. This scenario brings to mind a Wolves-era Adama Traore.
In Fantrax his fantasy potential could be higher. He averages 2.38 shots per 95. If he can get those on frame, then that’s points in his owners’ pockets whether they go in the net or not. A pacy, penetrating dribbler who enjoys 1 v 1s is likely to get fouled a lot too, and those phantoms can add up, a la Jack Grealish at Aston Villa.
But for now, Rutter’s world-class potential remains just that — potential. Despite his athletic gifts and technical ability, at just 20 years of age he remains a raw talent who requires time and coaching to mature. Just as Leeds likely brought him aboard with an eye toward the future, for now he is nothing more than a “watch and wait” fantasy target.
What are your thoughts on Leeds’ record transfer? Will you take a risk to include him in your fantasy team? Please log in and leave your comments below!