Manchester United turn attention to Upamecano’s teammate

Nicholas Hughes
Nicholas Hughes Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 2 min read
Manchester United turn attention to Upamecano’s teammate

Manchester United are set to go after a young French centre-back from RB Leipzig in the summer – but it won’t be Dayot Upamecano.

The Independent are reporting that, with Upamecano increasing likely to join Bayern Munich, United will turn their attention to his teammate Ibrahima Konate.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reportedly identified centre-back as a key area of the pitch to strengthen in the off-season and Konate could be the man to come in.

The 21-year-old played in all six of Leipzig’s Champions League group stage matches, including games against United, but has only played six times in the Bundesliga all season, having not played since the middle of December due to injury.

At 193cm tall, Konate is extremely strong in the air, winning 3.8 of his 4.8 aerial duels per 90 minutes as well as 7.2 total duels.

He is adept at reading the play, contributing almost two interceptions P90 when he plays and is also comfortable playing the ball out of the back in Julian Nagelsmann’s system, averaging 59.6 passes P90 at 83% accuracy.

Manchester United targets Konate vs Upamecano in 20/21

StatisticKonateUpamecano
Aerial duels won P903.82.5
Duels won P907.24.6
Interceptions P901.91.8
Clearances P903.82.8
Tackles won P900.51.1
via FootballCritic

There may be some concerns with his fitness as he has already missed 15 games in this season with two separate injuries. He also missed seven months of last season with a torn muscle, according to Transfermarkt.

United have had their own injury problems at the back with Eric Bailly particularly susceptible to being hurt, so perhaps bringing in another seemingly injury prone player wouldn’t help.

He is quick when chasing attackers in behind, something United are lacking in the centre of defence, and is strong enough to out muscle most players in a physical battle as well.

Last year, the Bundesliga’s official website likened the Frenchman to Virgil van Dijk, saying that not only is he proficient in multiple facets of being a centre-back, but he makes it “look easy”.

Albeit with a much smaller sample size, Konate’s numbers this season more than stand up against Upamecano’s, and United clearly see that there is not so big of a difference between the two players.

Manchester United will have to face stiff competition from English rivals if they are to secure Ibrahima Konate’s signature though, with the Independent also adding that Liverpool and Chelsea are interested in his services.

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