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The Lowdown: Amadou Haidara

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Haidara's time in Germany

Amadou Haidara is a midfielder who many clubs have been keeping a tabs on, especially in England as Manchester United and Newcastle United have been linked with the Malian international. Currently at the Africa Cup of Nations, we take a look at who he is, what he can bring, and how he already has connections with English football.

Haidara started his career in his native Mali, playing at the football academy set up by former French international Jean-Marc Guillou. At the age of 18, he got his first taste of the Red Bull football family, signing for Austrian champions, Red Bull Salzburg, in 2016.

After a year out on loan at Salzburg’s second team, FC Liefering, Haidara got his chance with the first team in the top flight of Austrian football and take his chance he did, contributing 17 goals in 43 games as Red Bull Salzburg won their 12th and 13th respective Austrian Bundesliga titles.

This huge contribution for anyone, never mind a defensive-minded player and it caught the attention of the bigger clubs in the Red Bull football family, RB Leipzig, as he secured a move to Germany for €19m, the second most expensive transfer fee for a footballer from Mali.

After mostly contributing off the bench for his first 18 months as Leipzig made huge strides including making the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2019/20, the midfielder made his biggest contribution under Julian Nagelsmann last season. By playing 43 games in all competitions, a collection of six goals and three assists helped Leipzig to another top four finish and to reach the final of the German Cup and he subsequently throw himself into the category of the most-wanted midfielders in European football.

What will Haidara bring to the Premier League?

So, what could Amadou Haidara bring to the Premier League if he was to come to England?

When looking especially at United, Haidara could be the man they need to resolve their gaping problem in midfield; being able to balance a sometimes over defensive lineup to looking overexposed when being run at. The Leipzig man is renowned for being a box-to-box midfielder and one which seems to be perfect for the Premier League's style and, speed, and physicality, which would allow Ragnick and the next United manager to only play one of Scott McTominay and Fred rather than two of the underperforming players.

His defensive qualities are highlighted in his stats, averaging 1.6 tackles a game so far this season, similar to that of McTominay who has averaged 1.8. Going forward, Haidara has far much more to offer than United currently have on show as well. The Mali international is far more confident and adept on the ball than what Fred has showcased this season, completing 0.9 dribbles and only failing to control the ball 0.6 times on average per game.

Fred, on the other hand, contributes only 0.4 dribbles per game and loses the ball 1.4 times on average in each game - an almighty difference. This could point to United’s defensive frailty, conceding 30 goals which is the joint worst in the top nine of the Premier League, level with West Ham United.

Amadou Haidara Transfer Odds: Is He Going to Old Trafford?

Another sign that Haidara could be moving to Old Trafford is the relationship that he has with his former manager, Rangnick. Playing under the German at RB Leipzig during the 2018/19 season, Haidara has spoken highly of his former boss.

“Yes, Ralf plays a very big role in my career.
“Don’t forget, when Leipzig wanted to get me, I tore my cruciate ligament. But Ralf said that I should come anyway. I wouldn’t have expected that back then. I’m very grateful to him because he really wanted me and gave me great confidence as a coach in Leipzig,” stated Haidara to German newspaper Bild.

Haidara’s love of United has added further speculation that his next move could be to the North West of England. Quoted from the same interview, the Leipzig midfielder said:

“Everyone had a favourite team as a kid. Mine was Manchester United, I was a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, I liked Paul Scholes, Patrice Evra, Edwin van der Sar, Anderson.”

Haidara has a big future ahead of him, and whether the Mali international moves to United or not, we think he’ll have a huge say at the top of European football for years to come and from Rangnick's standpoint, his first major move off the pitch must be bringing in a man of this much-needed calibre.