Youssouf Sabaly can solve Fulham’s right-back conundrum
The 25-year-old, who was a part of Senegal’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, has caught the eye with his consistently impressive displays in the Ligue 1 over the last few seasons.
Born in France to parents of Senegalese descent, Sabaly played for France at all youth levels before making his senior international debut for Senegal. A youth product of Paris Saint Germain, Sabaly played for the reserve team of his boyhood club and spent time on loan at Evian Thonon, Nantes and Bordeaux before joining the latter permanently in 2017. He hasn’t looked back since then, establishing himself as regular in Bordeaux’s first team.
The 25-year-old accumulated 5 assists from 35 appearances in the Ligue 1, averaging 1 key pass, 0.9 crosses and 1.7 long balls per game. He averaged 44.5 passes per game with an accuracy percentage of 82.3, stats which are quite impressive for a full-back.
A modern offensive-minded full-back blessed with the rare versatility of being able to play on either side of the defence, Sabaly is known for his pace, power, skills and tackling. While he is a good crosser of the ball from the wide areas, the Senegalese ace also likes to link up the play and sets up his teammates with key passes.
To go with his versatility and attacking prowess, Sabaly has earned rave reviews for his ability to balance both the attacking and defensive aspects of his game. His pace, agility and sharpness allow him to track back and make recovery runs to cut out the attacks, while his ability to time his tackles to perfection makes him a valuable asset to the backline.
The 25-year-old has successfully completed 20 of his attempted 23 tackles in Ligue 1 this season, which amounts to a tackling success rate of over 90 per cent. Sabaly has been dribbled past only 3 occasions in 8 appearances this season, something which speaks volumes of his concentration and composure.
To put things into perspective, it would be a no-brainer for Claudio Ranieri to make a bid for the Senegalese international in January to shore up his leaky backline.
Fulham have the worst defensive record not only in the Premier League but also in the other top leagues in Europe. The Cottagers desperately need to add stability to their backline if they are El stem the flow of goals in the second half of the season.
Right-back has been one of the major areas of concern for Ranieri since he took over the reins from Slavisa Jokanovic.
Irishman Cyrus Christie has been ripped inside out and has been exposed far too often for Fulham’s liking while Manchester United loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been sent back to his parent club. The lack of options at right-back promoted Ranieri to use Denis Odoi in an unfamiliar position against Manchester United, a ploy that led to disastrous consequences.
Read More:- Fulham would take a step closer to safeguarding Premier League status by signing this 23-year-old Juventus ace on loan – Opinion
Someone like Youssouf Sabaly, who can play on either side of the backline, can definitely be the answer to Fulham’s defensive woes and the Cottagers should go all out to sign him in January.
West Ham raiding London rivals for this 24-year-old goal machine would be an absolute masterstroke
West Ham Opinion: Why Aleksandar Mitrovic will be an ideal fit for West Ham
According to a report from Football.London, West Ham were linked with a January swoop for Fulham hitman Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Serbian, 24, has been one of the rare bright sparks for Fulham in an otherwise miserable campaign in the Premier League.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has shown that he is capable of playing well at this level and there will be plenty of suitors for him if Fulham go down at the end of the season, which looks very likely after their last weekend’s defeat against Liverpool.
That being said, should West Ham plot a summer move for the 24-year-old centre-forward this summer?
Absolutely! West Ham were set to lose Marko Arnautovic to an unnamed Chinese club in January before the Austrian made a U-turn and signed a one-year contract extension at the London Stadium.
Despite penning a new contract, there’s an air of uncertainty that Arnautovic will leave the club at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Andy Carroll is out of contract at West Ham in June and chances of him earning an extension have seemingly dried up after the 30-year-old injured his ankle once again.
Javier Hernandez has struggled this season with only eight goals in 25 games, while Lucas Perez remains out of favour under Pellegrini.
Considering West Ham’s current situation, signing a centre-forward is a must if Pellegrini is to challenge the Premier League’s Big Six next term. And Mitrovic would fit the bill perfectly at the London Stadium.
A big, burly and physical centre-forward, Mitrovic has been almost unplayable when he is on song this season. He is an old-fashioned centre-forward who excels in the holding the ball up and bringing his teammates into the game.
The 24-year-old is hard as a nail, difficult to dispossess and an all-day threat in the box.
Mitrovic is fantastic in the air and his ability to link-up play and swiftly run in the box hoping for a cross make him such a difficult player to mark. The former Anderlecht and Newcastle United man is also a composed finisher in front of goal.
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One of his biggest strengths up top is his anticipation as he drives into the box and has the ability to take a shot on from a pass or cross and find the back of the net in a blink of an eye.
Mitrovic is known for his aggression and physicality and can provide quality and depth up front for Pellegrini’s West Ham.
With Carroll’s contract expiring in June and possibility of Arnautovic leaving if a bigger club comes calling, the Hammers desperately need another forward who can cause defences problems in a physical manner.
And Pellegrini can do a lot worse than sign a Premier League proven forward, Mitrovic.
Man United should go all out to beat Tottenham £50m pursuit of this explosive 18-year-old PL starlet
Manchester United Opinion: Why Ryan Sessegnon will be a top fit for United
Ryan Sessegnon, 18, is out of contract at Craven Cottage in 2020 and has not agreed fresh terms, with Tottenham one of the European clubs considering a move for him. The likes of Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are also monitoring his situation closely, adds the report.
Sessegnon has struggled with the step-up to the Premier League football this season as Fulham lie in the relegation zone. Yet, Manchester United should step up their interest and beat the likes of Tottenham and PSG to the 18-year-old’s signature.
Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken of the need for the club to recruit “quality players” in the summer to challenge for the Premier League title next season.
The Norwegian was brought in to replace Jose Mourinho in December until the end of the season, although he is widely expected to become their next permanent manager after winning 14 of his 19 matches in charge.
But after being lauded for his impact since replacing Mourinho, the painful truth for Solskjaer is that his Manchester United team’s latest performance in the 2-1 defeat at Wolves in the FA Cup quarter-finals was undoubtedly the poorest as anything they have produced under the Norwegian tactician.
The defeat was not only an eye-opener for the 46-year-old but also a rude reminder about United’s apparent lack of squad depth. United will need to strengthen this summer if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next season and reinforcing the defence has got to be Solskjaer’s priority.
Competition for Luke Shaw at left-back is indeed required and Sessegnon will be an ideal fit for the Red Devils. Even though Sessegnon has excelled in an advanced role on the left for Fulham, but has been exposed a lot of times defensively.
Solskjaer would certainly have a challenge on his hands to improve the defensive facets of the 18-year-old’s game. Sessegnon has plenty of pace to burn, energy, agility, crossing abilities and willingness to work tirelessly throughout the game. He is also a very good passer of the ball and his game-reading abilities belie his age.
Despite his obvious flaws and a lukewarm debut season in the Premier League, Sessegnon remains a precocious talent. It has been a challenging season for the teenager and the Cottagers in the Premier League but it’s well worth recalling that he is a young talent who will be better with experience.
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Thus, United shouldn’t hesitate to go all out for Sessegnon in the summer as he can certainly develop under the watchful eyes of Solskjaer.
Tottenham signing this England U21 ace for £50m should be an absolute no-brainer for Pochettino
Tottenham FC Opinion: Spurs should make a move for Ryan Sessegnon
According to the Daily Mail, Tottenham Hotspur are interested in striking a £50million deal for Fulham and England U21 international Ryan Sessegnon this summer, with PSG and Manchester United also keen on securing the services of the 18-year-old.
Sessegnon is yet to commit his long-term future at Craven Cottage with his present deal set to expire in 2020 and the Daily Mail reports that Spurs want to sign him and loan him back to Fulham for the 2019-20 campaign.
The Mirror also adds that Spurs are the favourites to get their hands on the coveted teenage prospect, with Sessegnon reluctant to move out of London so early in his career.
After a wonderful season in the Championship last term which saw Sessegnon play a key role in Fulham’s promotion to the Premier League with 16 goals and 8 assists, the 18-year-old was tipped by many to make an instant impact in the Premier League.
And Sessegnon has not disappointed his fans, chipping in with 2 goals and 5 assists in the top flight this season.
Along with Aleksandar Mitrovic, 18-year-old Sessegnon has been one of the shining lights of Fulham’s otherwise disastrous campaign in the Premier League this season.
He has proven himself as a wonderful utility player at the highest level, playing at left-back and also further up the pitch as a left-winger.
Tottenham’s interest in Sessegnon might raise a few eyebrows as the Lilywhites already boast of established players like Ben Davies and Danny Rose at left-back.
It is quite clear that the north London giants want the youngster as a part of their long-term plans and he might eventually break his way into the first-team in the subsequent seasons.
Sessegnon is known for his blistering pace and offensive abilities as a full-back, whilst also boasting of good trickery and flair on the ball.
The 18-year-old uses his directness to beat his opposite number, often relying on his dribbling, acceleration and ability to change directions quickly.
To add to that, the English prodigy also excels with his passing ability, linking up with his teammates after cutting inside or whipping accurate crosses across the six-yard box from the wide areas. Furthermore, he is also a useful asset during set-piece situations.
Undoubtedly, Sessegnon is a player with massive potential and he can establish himself as a long-term successor to the likes of Rose and Davies provided he continues his development in the right direction.
He is still in the developmental phase of his career and he needs to work a bit more of his defensive game to play regularly for a top-six club in the Premier League.
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Still only 18, Ryan Sessegnon is a star in the making and it should be a no-brainer for Spurs to acquire him as a part of their long-term plans
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