Manchester United is interested in signing midfielder Amadou Haidara from RB Leipzig in the January transfer window.
As many reports today revealed, United has serious intentions of signing the 23-year-old. Haidara and Ralf Rangnick know each other very well from their time spent together with the Red Bull organization.
The Malian international has appeared on the Reds’ radar, mainly because of Rangnick’s eight-year spell as the sporting director of the Red Bull group.
The tireless midfielder signifies what Rangnick wants from his central players and he could be the perfect fit for a more aggressive and forward-thinking style of play.
As of now, United has five first-team midfielders with Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, and Fred. However, none of those names specialize in a defensive midfield role apart from Matic who isn’t fit enough for regular playing time.
After the signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, and Cristiano Ronaldo in the previous summer, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted a central midfielder and aimed at three targets of Declan Rice, Eduardo Camavinga, and Aurelien Tchouameni but nothing materialized.
However, it is clear that Rangnick wants to address the midfield situation in January and Haidara could be the man to fill that central void.
Whilst he has the skill set to play in the holding midfield role, like United desperately needs, it is crucial to highlight his ability to play across the pitch. He holds a high level of versatility and can either play wide of the midfield or in a more advanced role with the focus of contributing to the attacking side of things.
Whether it be pressing or breaking the opposition defensive lines, the 23-year-old’s speed and vigor make him a persistent threat for defenders. He has the ability to shut down spaces quickly and gain possession for his side deep into the opposition’s defensive third.
He has played as a lone defensive midfielder four times out of a possible 12 showing his ability to fill the gap in the United team and be a success at Old Trafford.
His efficiency in closing down opposition attacks is second to none but it is also the speed in which he can start a move going the other way for his own team.
In terms of progressive passes, he ranks second in the RB Leipzig team with an average of more than six forward passes.
Just to compare those statistics to the current United midfielders, that is higher than any of the United midfielders this season.
As many of the Leipzig players are, Haidara is very careful in possession and rarely gives the ball away, and appears to be very press-resistant.
An issue United may encounter is that with Haidara being from Mali, he will be competing in the African Cup of Nations meaning he will be out of club activities during the early months of 2022.
Based on the above, it is abundantly clear why United wants the 23-year-old and why Rangnick enjoyed the midfielder so much during his time at RB Leipzig.