It’s no secret Manchester United’s main priority this summer must be to bolster the midfield. Usually, you can cue the raft of links to anyone that can kick a ball and play in that position, but rumours of a genuine holding midfielder have been few and far between, however, United have now been linked to the highly-rated Ibrahim Sangaré.
Date of Birth: 02/12/1997 (24)
Position: Defensive Midfield
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1.91 m (6ft 3in)
Who is Ibrahim Sangaré?
Ibrahim Sangaré is a 24-year-old defensive-midfielder currently playing in the Eredivisie for Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. Sangaré left the Ivory Coast in July 2016 and joined French club, Toulouse. After four years at Toulouse, he left and attracted interest from many European sides. Ultimately the Ivorian made the switch to Dutch giants PSV for €7m.Embed from Getty Images
The Ivorian has quickly established himself as one of the best midfielders in the Eredivisie and it is likely that he will depart PSV this summer. According to Sky Sports, United and Chelsea are both interested in signing the Ivorian midfielder. They also report that the player is keen on making a move to the Premier League and is confident that he will be a Premier League player next season. He reportedly has a release clause of €35m (£30m).
StrengthsEmbed from Getty Images
Sangaré is exceptional defensively and is a fantastic ball-winner. His tough tackling has seen him average 3.6 tackles per 90 minutes played in the Eredivisie 21/22 season. His tackling ability shadows that of Fred and Scott McTominay who average 2.5 and 2.8 tackles per 90 respectively. In addition to this, Sangaré also averaged 2.8 interceptions and won over 60% of his ground duels per 90. Comparing that to Fred and McTominay, Sangaré almost doubles their interceptions per 90. Fred completes 1.5 while McTominay makes 1.2 interceptions a game. Sangare’s dominant aerial ability has seen him win nearly 75% of his aerial duels in the Eredivisie.Embed from Getty Images
Sangaré is also fantastic on the ball. His passing is an attribute which he has really improved at PSV. He completed 86% of his attempted passes last season in the Eredivisie. That’s considerably better than the 79% pass success rate he had in Ligue 1 during the 2019/20 season. He also completed 63% of his attempted long-range passes which shows he has a decent passing range However McTominay does top him in this metric completing 65%. His decision-making on the ball is relatively impressive and his positioning is also quite good.
The Ivorian completed nearly 70% of his attempted dribbles last season in the Eredivisie which shows he is a competent dribbler. Sangaré also contributes to goals as he chipped in with 4 goals and 2 assists in all competitions last season.
WeaknessesEmbed from Getty Images
Sangaré doesn’t have any major glaring weaknesses to his game but one thing he should improve on is his disciple. The Ivorian picked up 2 red cards last season, being shown two yellow cards on both occasions. He needs to learn to become a little more disciplined especially in situations when he’s already on a yellow.
Where would Sangare fit in at United?Embed from Getty Images
If United were to sign Sangaré, he would slot right into midfield. United have been crying out for a defensive midfielder for a while and Sangaré is a really good option to fill that role. While the lax nature of the Dutch league needs to be considered his stats are superior to United’s current options.
As Ten Hag usually plays a 4-2-3-1, Sangaré could potentially partner Frenkie de Jong in a midfield pivot. The pair would complement each other well. Sangaré would take a lot of the defensive burden away from De Jong which would allow De Jong to play to his strengths winning balls high up the pitch. While De Jong isn’t bad defensively in his own half, so far at Barcelona, the Dutchman has been at his best when not strictly shielding his back four.
VerdictEmbed from Getty Images
Sangaré would be a very intelligent signing for United. At only €35 million, he wouldn’t take up too much of United’s summer budget either. Sangaré alongside De Jong would be a fantastic midfield pivot which could potentially serve United for forthcoming years.
Sangaré is now 24 and having proven himself as a top-class midfielder in the Eredivisie, now would be the perfect time to take the next step in his career and a move to Old Trafford could be the perfect next step in his career.
There is always a little bit of concern regarding players from the Eredivisie coming to the Premier League as most players who’ve made the switch in recent times have struggled to hit the ground running. However, Sangaré has the attributes to make it in the Premier League and at €35 million, he’s worth taking a risk on.