Current RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara to FootMali.com in 2019: “My dream club is Manchester United. I will fight with all my strength to one day play for that club.”
Since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival at Manchester United, the club has been strongly linked to Haidara.
Date of Birth: 31/01/1998 (23)
Position: Central Midfield
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1,75 m (5ft 9in)
Who is he?
Amadou Haidara is a 23-year-old midfielder currently playing for German side RB Leipzig. Haidara is a versatile player. He’s spent most of his time in a box-to-box role but can also play as a defensive midfielder and in attacking midfield. He’s also been deployed as a wing-back at times during his time at Leipzig. The Malian midfielder joined Austrian side RB Salzburg in July 2016 from Malian club JMG Academy Bamako. Upon arriving at Salzburg, he was immediately loaned out another Austrian club, FC Liefering. After returning to Salzburg, Haidara made a total of 55 appearances for the club in the 2017/18 season, scoring 8 goals and assisting 10 times. He also made his debut in international football for Mali in October 2017. He’s since gone on to make 24 appearances for his country. In 2018, Haidara finished in the top 10 of the Kopa Trophee. An award for the best player in the world under the age of 21. After impressing at Salzburg, Haidara left the club for Leipzig in January 2019 for a fee of around €20 million. At the time of his transfer to the German outfit, current United interim manager Ralf Rangnick was the manager of Leipzig.
Haidara is a strong presser, a cornerstone of Rangnick’s philosophy. This season alone, he’s averaged an impressive 19.52 pressures a game. Another one of his big strengths is ball progression, whether that’s driving forward with the ball or making progressive passes he’s shown the ability to aid the breaking down of opposition blocks with some forward-thinking play.
According to FBRef, he averages nearly six progressive passes a game and 5.24 progressive carries. The Malian is also great at moving the ball around quickly with his passing. He also isn’t someone who concedes possession a lot. In the Bundesliga this season, he’s lost possession 9.8 times a game on average which is quite good especially for a midfielder in his mold. Haidara is also technically sound, displaying a great first touch and silky ball control when getting out of danger.
Regarding goal-scoring and assisting, in 183 appearances for Leipzig and Salzburg, he’s scored 23 times and also assisted 23 times – the perfect balance.
Haidara is versatile and has many impressive attributes to his game but there are a few things he could improve on. Aerially, he’s not the best. Last season in the Bundesliga, he only won 47% of aerial duels and this season he’s only won 46% of them. He’s not the tallest but those stats could be better.
Where would he fit in at United?
In Ralf Rangnick’s first game as United manager on Sunday against Crystal Palace, he used a 4-2-2-2 formation with Fred and Scott Mctominay in front of the defense. If Rangick continues with this formation, Haidara could potentially slot into that midfield two alongside either Fred, Scott McTominay, or potentially even Paul Pogba depending on how Ragnick uses the Frenchman when he returns from injury.
With Rangnick being an admirer of Haidara, previously coaching him, and the Malian having already made it clear that’s it’s his dream to play for Manchester United, a transfer in January seems possible. Haidara also has a release clause of around £33 million in his current Leipzig contract making him an affordable option for the Red Devils. At only 23 years old, Haidara will still continue to improve over the next couple of years and would be an astute investment for the club.