Manchester United reportedly keen on Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby
Manchester United are reportedly chasing Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby.
German channel Sport1 report United are keen on Diaby, with Arsenal and Newcastle also said to be interested.
Here is a look at what you need to know about the potential summer transfer target…
1) Diaby began his career with Paris Saint-Germain and made 25 first team appearances in the 2018/19 season, although just 10 were as a starter.
2) He quit the club for Bayer Leverkusen that summer, signing a five-year deal for just £11 million. He told L’Équipe he wanted to leave his comfort zone and start more regularly.
3) Diaby, now 22, can play on both the right wing and the left, and he has impressed in Germany, providing 10 assists in the 2020/21 season.
4) This season Diaby has almost matched his assist tally from last year with 9, and also has 16 goals, a big improvement on the 8 he scored last season. His return of 25 combined goals assists this campaign is his best yet.
5) Diaby made his international debut for France in September and has four caps and he has been called up to their latest squad ahead of Anthony Martial. He was also eligible to play for Mali.
How much Diaby could cost
Sport1 report Bayer Leverkusen are looking for £50 million to sign Diaby (60m Euros). This would be almost five times the fee the German side paid for him and represent a very good profit.
Diaby has a long term contract until June 2025, which puts Leverkusen in a strong position with their demands.
A move is made easier however, as Sport1 report Leverkusen have already identified a replacement. They are planning to target Roma winger Carles Perez.
What they say
Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller was very excited to sign Diaby in 2019, telling the club website: “Moussa Diaby is an extremely fast, technically strong striker whose qualities suit our game down to the ground.”
He has backed up this pace, with Bundesliga statistics showing Diaby is in the top 10 fastest players in the league this season, ranking eighth.
France boss Didier Deschamps appreciates his qualities. Speaking after the international win over Kazakhstan last year, he was quoted by TMW: “He is able to evolve in different positions. In his club, he plays a little more on the sides. This year, it’s a little more to the left than to the right, with freedom too.”
“He has the option of using both feet. He is versatile, in addition to his ability to accelerate, he is rather skillful, he has a large volume of play. This desire that he has, the France team needs players of this type there too. What he did was pretty interesting when he was brought in.”
In his own words
Speaking to Bundesliga.com about his qualities, Diaby said: “I like high-intensity games with lots of chances and lots of space. I’m very happy playing here.”
“In terms of physicality, I think I’ve progressed a lot. We train at a high level of intensity. In order to play in the Bundesliga, you need a minimum level of cardio fitness. I think I’ve improved in this area since my arrival. And also in terms of my technical ability. You can always get better, but I think I’ve been making progress in this area
“I play where the coach tells me to play. I have no preference. Whether I play on the left or on the right, I give my all to help the team. I don’t have a preference.”
Diaby would be a very interesting signing for United, as at 22-years-old, he is likely only going to get better. This season he has doubled his goalscoring output and also on course for a career-high assists.
United need to sign another winger, and with Jadon Sancho able to play both flanks, Diaby’s versatility to play on either side makes him an ideal complement for the former Dortmund ace.
Diaby is more pacy and direct than Sancho, and likes to put crosses in, and together they could be an ideal pair for United to throw at opposing defenders and support a centre-forward.
Another alternative is Ajax’s Antony, but Diaby would be a pretty good alternative, especially if United were able to knock Leverkusen’s asking price down towards £30-40 million.