As good as Diogo Dalot has been for Manchester United so far this season, the club do still need to sign a right-back to give Dalot competition and add depth to the squad. According to reports, Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong is on United’s radar.
Date of Birth: 10/12/2000 (21)
Position: Right-Back, Right-Wing Back
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1,71 m (5ft 7in)
Who is Jeremie Frimpong?Embed from Getty Images
Jeremie Frimpong is currently under contract at Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. The 21-year-old right-back actually spent a big part of his career at United’s local rivals Manchester City. He joined the club at the age of nine but never made an appearance in City’s first team. He left the blue side of Manchester in September 2019 and moved to Scotland where he joined Celtic. After making 51 appearances in a Celtic shirt, he left the Scottish giants in January 2021 and joined Bayer Leverkusen for a fee in the region of €11million.
The Dutchman has flourished at Leverkusen and is now reportedly attracting interest from Manchester United. According to Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, Manchester United want to sign a high-quality right-back and Frimpong is one of the names on the club’s list. The player’s current contract at Leverkusen expires in June 2025. Plettenberg also adds that United want to sign a right-back in January and at the very latest the summer.
Fabrizio Romano also reports that United have sent scouts to watch Frimpong and United are one of many clubs following his progress.
Frimpong’s biggest strength is his attacking qualities. Last season, in 34 games, he managed two goals and 8 assists which is quite decent. Leverkusen have had a terrible start to the season and currently sit 16th in the Bundesliga but Frimpong has been a shining spark for the Die Werkself. He’s played 17 games so far this season in all competitions and has already scored five times and picked up two assists.Embed from Getty Images
Frimpong is an extremely good ball carrier and has averaged 9.57 progressive carries per 90 in the Bundesliga so far this season which is absurdly good – it ranks him as one of the very best ball-carrying right-backs in Europe. He’s also completed 2.4 dribbles per 90 so far in the Bundesliga with a 58% success rate and that is very impressive. His extreme pace and skillfulness makes it very hard for defenders to deal with him which means he also wins a lot of fouls in attacking areas. The Dutchman has also averaged just over 3 shot-creating actions per 90 so far this season in the Bundesliga. In addition to that, he’s also created 10 chances.
Leverkusen sacked Gerardo Seoane after a poor start to the season and have replaced him with Xabi Alonso. Seoane mainly utilised a 4-2-3-1 system using Frimpong as the right back and even as the right-winger at times. In Xabi Alonso’s 3-4-3 system, Frimpong is playing as a right-wing back and that suits him well. It means he has more license to attack, and it also means he has less defensive responsibilities. However, in a back four, he can sometimes be exposed defensively.
WeaknessesEmbed from Getty Images
As good as Frimpong is going forward, his end product definitely needs to be improved. He’s really good at taking the ball, driving forward and getting himself in great positions but his end product lets him down on occasions and is certainly something he needs to improve. If he’s able to improve that, he would have basically everything needed to be one of the best attacking full backs in world football. In addition to his end product letting him down, the defensive side of his game also needs improvement. His positioning is also poor at times but his pace does sometimes help him recover in such instances.
Where would he fit in at United?
If United do sign Frimpong, he’d add quality as well as depth to the squad. Dalot has started every game this season and as good as he’s been, playing every game will lead to fatigue which would eventually mean a drop off in his form. United need to sign a right-back in January as Dalot is really United’s only option at the moment.
United do have Aaron Wan-Bissaka but he has been injured for the majority of the season and it doesn’t seem like he’s in Erik ten Hag’s plans as The Red Devils were already trying to sell him in the summer. It’s not a major shock that Wan-Bissaka isn’t very highly rated by Erik ten Hag. Ten Hag’s footballing philosophy has a lot to do with dominating possession. That requires players who are good on the ball and while Wan-Bissaka does have his strengths, his ability on the ball certainly isn’t one of them.
It would be good for both Wan-Bissaka and United if the player moved to a new club. That would hopefully mean that United would be able to bring in a right-back that Ten Hag wants. Frimpong coming in would give Ten Hag a really good option in the right-back position. He offers something different to Dalot and would certainly give the Portuguese international good competition for his spot in the starting line-up.
VerdictEmbed from Getty Images
Frimpong is an extremely exciting player but there are frailties in his game. His attacking attributes are outstanding but there are obviously questions over the defensive side of his game. However, with the right coaching, which Ten Hag can offer, he could definitely improve his weaknesses. The Dutchman is a very exciting talent who could develop into a top-class player.
A player United could also potentially go for is Lyon’s Malo Gusto who’s an extremely promising young right-back. While Gusto may not be as good going forward as Frimpong, he’s still quite decent and similarly to Frimpong, the Frenchman is an elite ball-progressor. From a defensive point of view, Gusto is also a lot more solid than Frimpong.
With all that said though, United need to get the player Ten Hag wants most. For a long time, it felt like United were just signing big names who didn’t really fit a specific system which is why so many players failed. However, Ten Hag clearly knows exactly which players he wants and which players suit his style of play. All of his signings so far have made a very positive impact and he clearly knows what he’s doing in regards to transfers. In his short time as manager at Theatre of Dreams, United have already progressed so much and are certainly heading in the right direction. He needs long-term backing from the club.