Manchester United will come up against a RB Leipzig side containing central defender Dayot Upamecano tonight.
According to the Times, United plan to try and sign the 22-year-old Frenchman in the summer.
They report the contract he signed earlier this year contains a £38 million release clause that will become active during the summer window.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to be drawn too much when asked about Upamecano in his pre-match press conference.
As per the Independent, he said: “There’s always rumours and speculation about good players for Manchester United,” Solskjaer said. “(I) don’t want to comment on every player we are linked to.
“But since he’s playing against us tomorrow, I know he’s a very good player so we can see him close up.”
As Upamecano gears up to face United, we’ve taken a look at his statistics on WhoScored, comparing them to Harry Maguire’s start to the season.
Of course, stats don’t tell the full story, but when combined with watching Upamecano tonight, they give an idea of the type of player he is.
That may well be of interest to United fans if the Times report is accurate about a bid next summer.
WhoScored’s comparison is split into defensive, offensive and passing numbers.
For centre-backs, the only place to start is with the defensive stats, and they’re fairly evenly matched from their first five games of their league campaigns.
Maguire has made more interceptions per game (2 to 1), clearances (3.6 to 2) and marginally less fouls (1.2 to 1.4).
Upamecano makes more tackles (1.4 to 0.2) and blocks (0.8 to 0.2), which paints the picture of him as more of a proactive, front foot defender, whereas Maguire is happier dropping back to intercept and clear.
One thing which can’t be measured here is pace, where Upamecano outstrips Maguire handsomely, and that recovery speed could be useful to cover the Englishman if the pair were ever a partnership.
Towering attacking threats
Going forward, both men are a threat from set pieces and have a league goal each to their name this season.
Upamecano has made a shade more key passes (0.4 to 0.2) and more dribbles (0.4 to 0), which shows his confidence striding out from the back and playing passes.
That’s something Maguire shone at with England and Leicester before joining United, but a lack of confidence this season has meant it hasn’t been in full view.
Upamecano is slightly less secure in possession, with more dispossessions (0.6 to 0.2) and unsuccessful touches (0.8 to 0.4).
That could be because he’s taking more risks on the ball than Maguire, or simply the fluctuations you might expect from a defender five years younger than the United skipper.
Stark passing contrast
The pair’s numbers have been broadly comparable so far, but there is a stark contrast in their passing statistics – where Upamecano outshines Maguire substantially.
As well as the aforementioned key passes numbers, these stats bear out Maguire’s lack of confidence in possession.
Maguire is making an average of 67 passes a game, dwarfed by Upamecano, who has over 89 in a match.
Maguire’s pass accuracy is around 85 per cent, but Upamecano’s is over 90. But as mentioned above, it’s not as if the Frenchman is playing it safe, he’s taking risks and nine in every ten balls are finding their target.
He’s playing 7.8 long passes a match too, compared to Maguire’s 4.4. Some of these variations may be attributed to the tactical demands of their managers, but it indicates the Frenchman has the better passing range.
United fans will get the chance to see if the eye test backs up the impressive statistics, and if they do, it may further convince Solskjaer to splash that £38 million to make the duo team-mates next season.
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