Down The Wings

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Edmond Tapsoba Scout Report: Why Manchester United should sign the Centre-Back

(Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

A new centre-back will be a priority for Manchester United in 2024 and the club have identified Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba as a possible signing to bolster Erik ten Hag’s defence. 

Date of Birth: 02/02/1999 (24)
Position: Centre-Back
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1.92m (6ft 3in)

Who is Edmond Tapsoba?

Edmond Tapsoba is a 24-year-old central defender from Burkina Faso currently plying his trade in the Bundesliga at German giants Bayer Leverkusen. The defender made his move to Europe in 2017 when he moved to Portugal. After an impressive spell at Vitória Guimarães, Tapsoba left Portugal and made a move to Germany where he joined his current club Bayer Leverkusen. 

United’s interest in Tapsoba isn’t anything new. The Reds have held an interest in Tapsoba for a while and were linked to the Burkina Faso defender last summer. Jean-Clair Todibo was also mentioned at the time and is still said to be on United’s shortlist heading into 2024. The Old Trafford club also held concrete talks with Bayern München over Benjamin Pavard, but the deal didn’t go through due to Harry Maguire at United staying and Pavard eventually joined Inter.  

United aren’t the only Premier League club to have expressed an interest in Tapsoba. Tottenham were keen on the defender last summer, but eventually signed Micky van de Ven from Wolfsburg. It’s unclear how much Tapsoba would cost. However, with his impressive form so far this season and also the fact he’s recently just signed a new deal until 2028 at the BayArena, it’s likely that Leverksuen would command a significant transfer fee for their defender in 2024. 


Edmond Tapsoba has been a vital cog in Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen system. At the time of writing, Die Werkself are currently Bundesliga leaders and are still unbeaten in the German competition. 

Xabi Alonso has typically favoured a 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 system this season. While he is right-footed, Tapsoba has been utilised most often as the left-sided centre-back in a back 3. However, when Xabi Alonso has opted to use a back 4, Tapsoba has been used as the right-sided centre-back at times. 

Manchester United have been linked to numerous centre-backs over the last few months and a lot of them are excellent in possession. Edmond Tapsoba is no different and is actually arguably the best. The 24-year-old centre-back is technically excellent. He is a good progressor of play and is press-resistant. In the 2023-24 Bundesliga season so far, Tapsoba has averaged 6.52 progressive passes per 90 as well as 2.07 progressive carries per 90 which makes him one of the Bundesliga’s best ball-playing centre-backs. 

Given Xabi Alonso’s insistence to play out from the back, the centre-backs in his system have a lot of the ball. This means that Tapsoba has been a high-volume passer this season, averaging around 74 passes per 90, completing 93% of them. His passing range is also very impressive having completed 73.3% of his attempted long passes in the 2023-24 Bundesliga season so far. 

In terms of his defensive ability, Tapsoba has a lot of pace which helps him against rapid attackers and also helps him recover quickly when out of position. The Bayer Leverkusen defender is also a decent tackler and wins a lot of his ground duels. In the Bundesliga so far this season Tapsoba has also averaged an impressive 8.29 ball recoveries per 90. 

Tapsoba is also fairly comfortable defending the wide areas although there is certainly room for improvement. It is crucial that whatever right-sided centre-back Manchester United sign is good at defending out wide as it would mean Erik ten Hag would be able to be comfortable having his full-backs back up the press. This would make United a more cohesive pressing unit. 


As good as his ability is on the ball, there is one very worrying weakness in Tapsoba’s game. Despite being 6’’3, Tapsoba is actually not amazing aerially and is nowhere near the level of someone like Raphaël Varane or Harry Maguire. Lisandro Martinez is a fantastic footballer, but he needs a centre-back partner who’s dominant aerially to cover up that weakness of his, and unfortunately Tapsoba just isn’t elite in the air. At 6’’3 though, it’s something he definitely could improve. 


When you compare him to all the other centre-backs Manchester United are said to be considering, Edmond Tapsoba is certainly the strongest in possession. He is an amazing progressor of play and United’s build-up play would certainly improve if he were to join Ten Hag’s side. A centre-back pairing of Martinez and Tapsoba would arguably be the best in the Premier League and possibly the best in Europe in possession. 

The Bayer Leverkusen defender is also fairly comfortable in wide areas but Jean-Clair Todibo, who’s another player United are targeting, is better in this area. Given the high-pressing system Erik ten Hag wants to play at Manchester United, channel defending is probably one of the most crucial skillets needed in whichever centre-back United decide to sign. 

Tapsoba’s aerial ability is a fairly big concern, especially as he’d play next to Lisandro Martinez should he make the move to Old Trafford. 

In conclusion, Tapsoba is certainly a player Manchester United should be considering. His ability on the ball is exceptional, although there are a few questions over his aerial ability and there are options on the market who are better at defending the wide areas.

Founder/Owner of UnitedConstantly

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