Promising centre-back on radar of Manchester United
It has been a frustrating transfer period so far for Manchester United but the club are working to bolster their defence with the signature of France’s U-19 captain Benoît Badiashile from Monaco.
United’s defensive frailties began to appear towards the end of the season and were their undoing against Sevilla in the Europa League semi-final. Throughout the year Solskjaer has rotated partners for record signing Harry Maguire including Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones but none have cemented a place in the starting XI.
Maguire is a fine defender but lacks the recovery pace to match some of the games faster opponents, which has prompted United to look for a complementary centre half. Enter Benoît Badiashile.
Being slowly integrated into the Monaco first team (Badiashile has made 47 appearances in all competitions since making his debut at 17), the young man has displayed all the traits and characteristics to be an elite centre-half.
Standing at a muscular 6ft 3in, Badiashile is an imposing opponent who is lightning fast across the ground. Over the past season Monaco switched between a flat back 4, where Badiashile played as the left sided centre-half to 3 centre-backs in a 3-5-2, moving to the left hand side of the 3.
As you can imagine with a player of his stature, Badiashile wins an excellent number of his aerial duels (67.1%) helping to clear crosses into the box and preventing long passes being played up to the opposition striker making 83 clearances in total last season.
The youngster is not all physicality and displays a high level of defensive intuition. Badiashile shows good instincts stepping into make interceptions (he totalled 25 interceptions last season) as well as being able to make a number of blocks (53 across all facets) preventing an attack or an attempt on goal.
The French defender has an excellent burst of pace, and shows lightning quick recovery speed to catch attackers that have broken in behind the defence. Highlighting his intelligence, Badiashile was quick to cover for fellow first team centre-backs Kamil Glik and Guillermo Maripan when pulled out of position.
Not just a competent defender, the centre-back has all the hallmarks of making an excellent footballer. Recognised for his talent on the ball, he was entrusted with being the ball playing defender with his role to progress the attack from the back, which he did with aplomb using a variety of passes both medium to long using both feet.
Badiashile likes to switch play often from left to right finding his fullback to begin an attack and was supremely accurate, landing 87% of his passes. If a pass is not on, Badiashile has shown a willingness to carry the ball out of defence and into midfield to open passing lanes and space.
Badiashile we have to remember is only 19 and will have growing pains whilst he continues to study the game, one area for him to develop is his recognition of when to release the ball. The defender being dispossessed on some occasions in dangerous areas, which could prove costly in the cut throat Premier League.
Playing alongside a seasoned centre-half like Harry Maguire would help develop the young man’s in game understanding and give United potentially the best centre-back pairing since Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
With one bid rejected, it is yet to be seen whether Manchester United will return with another. If they do, they will be securing one of the most promising talents on the continent.
Do you think Manchester United should sign Badiashile or look to other targets?