Whilst Manchester United continue to be linked with Amadou Haidara, who worked with Ralf Rangnick at RB Leipzig, Aurelien Tchouameni gave a timely reminder of his own midfield credentials.
The Times reports Rangnick’s top priority is to sign a midfielder in the January transfer window.
Top of Rangnick’s list, reportedly, is Leipzig midfielder Haidara, who he signed for the Bundesliga giants and the 23-year-old has a £33m release clause.
However, in October, under the stewardship of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, ESPN reported that United were scouting Monaco anchor-man Tchouameni.
That report claimed that the France international would cost between €50m and €60m (£42-51 million).
Tchouameni may be a tad more expensive than Haidara, but he is two years his junior and has huge potential to become one of the best midfielders in Europe.
But, Rangnick, famed for his high press and all-out energetic style, may be drawn to Haidara due to his previous affiliations with the Mali international, and his desire to have all-action box-to-box midfielders in his ranks.
However, Tchouameni, who may well be more of a defensive midfield specialist, drew praise from his compatriot and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.
Pogba said of Tchouameni to French broadcaster RTL after a 1-1 draw with Ukraine, as quoted by Ouest-France: “Very very good. He’s not a boy, he’s a man.
“Pleasure to play next to him. He brings a lot of energy. A lot of energy, extraordinary technical and physical quality.”
Pogba’s comments on Tchouameni’s energy, indicate that the youngster has the quality both in and out of possession to be a success under Rangnick.
In last night’s 3-1 win for Monaco against Angers, no player on the pitch made more tackles (5) or interceptions (6) than Tchouameni, according to WhoScored.
He also had the third highest amount of touches (74) in the match and won the most aerial duels (3), alongside completing one dribble.
It was a dominant defensive midfield display from the Frenchman.
Monaco currently sit seventh in Ligue 1 after 16 games. They are five points off the Champions League places and 18 off league leaders Paris Saint Germain.
However, the French giants have secured qualification for the last-32 of the Europa League, so a lucrative move for Tchouameni may have to wait until the summer, which could be influenced on whether the Monte Carlo-based club qualify for Europe or not.
Depending on whether Leipzig finish third in their Champions League group, Haidara and Tchouameni could be on collision course in the Europa League, which would be an intriguing battle.
When comparing the pair’s domestic performances so far this season, Haidara has two goals to Tchouameni’s one, but the Frenchman is averaging more shots per game (1.7) than Leipzig’s number eight (1).
Tchouameni also currently has a better pass success rate (86.5) than Haidara (81.4) and is also winning a greater volume of aerial duels (1.9), to the former RB Salzburg man (1).
Tchouameni also dominates the defensive statistics, He is averaging 2.5 tackles per game, whilst Haidara is currently producing 1.1 per game.
The Malian international averages 0.8 interceptions, but Tchouameni again comes out on top with 2.3.
Playing in a high-octane pressing side, influenced by Rangnick’s philosophy, Haidara currently averages being dribbled past 1.2 times per game. Tchouameni, playing in a more robust Monaco team, averages 0.7.
There is no denying that either Haidara or Tchouameni would bolster Manchester United’s midfield options, and if the likes of Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic do move on this summer, there is no reason why the pair couldn’t play alongside one and other at Old Trafford.
But with Rangnick at the helm, Haidara looks to be the preferred option, but the ‘godfather’ of gegenpressing would be foolish to overlook Tchouameni.
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