Why Man United should make a move for Lille star Boubakary Soumare
In January, Sky Sports had claimed that Manchester United were one of the European clubs interested in signing Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare. However, no deal materialised and the midfielder has since stayed with Lille.
Boubakary Soumare, 20, signed for Lille from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in 2017 and has progressed through the youth ranks with the French national side to become a star for the Under-21s. The defensive midfielder has shone for Lille this season, managing 29 appearances across all competitions so far.
Meanwhile, Manchester United signed striker Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season after acquiring the services of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon. The Red Devils began hunting for an extra striker after seeing top scorer Marcus Rashford get sidelined with a serious back injury. And they have now ended up with Ighalo.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have struggled with inconsistency this season, with injuries to key stars playing a big role. Injuries to Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford have disrupted United’s rhythm, yet they sit fifth in the table. So the additions of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo makes sense for the Red Devils.
However, Bruno and Ighalo don’t simply solve all problems for Solskjaer. United still appear light on numbers in the central midfield department, with Nemanja Matic and Fred being forced to play every game due to injuries to Pogba and McTominay.
Alongside Fred, Matic has done a fantastic job in the middle of the park of late. The Serbian has been consistently playing well and scored a top goal against Manchester City in the second round of EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday, although he was sent off for two bookable offences and United were knocked out of the competition on aggregate.
Not to forget, Matic is 31 and out of contract at the end of the season. Whether or not United offer him a contract extension remains to be seen, but Solskjaer should look for a long-term replacement for the Serb in the summer. To that end, Boubakary Soumare would be ideal for the Red Devils.
As per WhoScored, Soumare has averaged 1.1 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 0.4 clearances and 0.5 blocks in 19 Ligue 1 appearances this season. He is yet to score or assist in the league so far. As far as Matic is concerned, he has averaged 1.9 tackles, 0.4 interceptions, 0.8 clearances and 0.1 blocks in eight Premier League appearances this season. Just like Soumare, the Serb is yet to contribute with a goal or an assist. [Courtesy: WhoScored]
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Though Matic has better numbers in certain areas, it has to be noted that he has played lesser than Soumare. As far as the aforementioned stats are concerned, although not an instant upgrade on Matic, Soumare would be a smart option to bolster United’s midfield for the future.
At the age of 20, Soumare has a long way to go in his career. He has massive potential and Solskjaer could help the Frenchman elevate his game, just like the United manager has done with many young talents such as Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams etc. this season.