Man Utd’s new Pogba? Door opened for Ten Hag to sign bargain Casemiro replacement

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 22 Jan 2024 14:03 GMT
  • 4 min read
Casemiro, Paul Pogba, Man Utd, 2023/24
© ProShots

Manchester United have long been linked with an interest in Monaco midfielder Youssouf Fofana, and the prospect of the Red Devils landing a player who could act as an ideal replacement for Casemiro has been improved by reports from France.

Monaco owner Dmitry Rybolovlev has reportedly asked the Raine Group, who oversaw Man Utd’s takeover process, to put the club on the market, suggesting that in the short term the Stade Louis II side could see their budget cut.

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One of the players who could be moved on is Fofana, who has been attracting covetous glances from the Premier League for many months.

Nottingham Forest and Fulham both made a play for the 25-year-old in the summer, when Man Utd were also said to be monitoring the situation, yet he knocked them back.

“I want to go to a place where I can continue to be selected for France,” he told Canal+.

“If you’re choosing between Nottingham Forest, Fulham and AS Monaco, naturally, I’m staying at Monaco.”

Man Utd had been linked with a move for Fofana in January, though that appears unlikely with Sir Jim Ratcliffe's takeover not yet fully complete. Still, a summer deal could be on the cards.

Youssouf Fofana at the World Cup with France
© ProShots - Youssouf Fofana at the World Cup with France

Fofana a nice fit for Man Utd

Fofana, who has an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €19.9 million, has proven himself to be a versatile performer in the centre of midfield. Having played a destructive role last season, under new boss Adi Hutter he has been more attacking.

With France, he remains primarily a defensive presence, acting as a balancing force that contains some of the best attackers in the world game, including Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe.

Indeed, he sees himself as a replacement for Paul Pogba, who is presently serving a ban for being found positive of taking performance enhancing drugs, and N’Golo Kante for Les Bleus.

“I feel ready, yes, because I don't lack ambition. But Pogba and Kante marked an era for the French team between Euro 2016 and Euro 2021 when they took on the world. Together, they were unbeatable. I'm going to give myself the chance to reach their level,” he told TNT.

Now Fofana is being eyed as a long-term replacement for Pogba at Man Utd – and it is a move that makes a lot of sense.

According to SciSports’ Career Advice tool, Man Utd rank Fofana’s second-best option if and when he elects to leave Monaco, something that looks increasingly likely, with an ambitious mindset.

United get a Club Fit score of 78 for Fofana, just one mark behind Tottenham, whose playing style and formation are better suited to the France star.

Fofana looks a player who could be re-energised with a transfer and Man Utd look a smart option if they still want him, but much will depend on Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s opinion of a player he will know well from Ligue 1.

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