Manchester United’s new manager Ralf Rangnick may be tempted to bring in one of his former signings, according to The Mirror.
The player in question is Amadou Haidara, a 23-year-old Mali midfielder who currently plays for RB Leipzig after moving from Red Bull Salzburg two years ago. Newcastle United were keen on the player last year, and he has a £33 million release clause.
At £33m he would be a relatively affordable replacement for Paul Pogba, who is set to leave and has been hugely disappointing.
The other players in a similar role, such as Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic and Fred are all not good enough and so bringing in the player this winter would help them build for the future and get rid of deadwood.
The Mali international joined RB Leipzig from RB Salzburg in 2018 as a replacement for Naby Keita but a knee injury meant he had to wait four-and-a-half months to make his debut for the Bundesliga club.
Having arrived as a two-time title winner from Austria, Haidara has taken his game to the next level in Germany and established himself as one of the most dynamic midfielders in Europe.
Rangnick wanted a dynamic midfielder to replicate the intensity in the middle of the park that Keita had become known for and the club’s relationship with Salzburg meant they were well aware of his qualities, even at the age of 20.
What’s his best position?
Haidara was signed as a box-to-box midfielder at Leipzig but he’s played in all three central midfield positions during his time in Germany.
The Mali international’s best quality is his intensity without the ball, which has often led to comparisons to Keita and N’Golo Kante.
Because of that, he’s more often than not deployed as number 8 in a box-to-box role so that he can press further up the field in the hope that possession can be overturned closer to the opponents’ goal.
Rangnick’s brand of football has been based on gegenpressing – which is a strategy and/or belief adopted by managers such as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
However, the Malian is adaptable and when playing more conservatively, Haidara can play as a defensive midfielder – or a number 6 – but his strength is not in possession and he struggles to build attacks.
Haidara feels comfortable in either position but says he’s happy to play anywhere through the midfield.
‘I feel at my best when I’m in position 6 or 8. But last season the coach used to put me a bit everywhere,’ Haidara said earlier this year.
What has the player said?
Speaking to FootMali.com in October 2019, Haidara said: “My dream club is Manchester United. I will fight with all my strength to one day play for that club.”