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Man Utd eyeing “frightening” Casemiro replacement who has a “similar profile” to Pogba – opinion


Manchester United’s renowned Carrington academy has produced some very amazing players over the years. They do, however, have a unique talent for turning forth some of the best midfield players in football history.

This goes all the way back to the Busby Babes, whose most entertaining player, Duncan Edwards, played 177 times for the first team before he was killed in the Munich Air Disaster.

 

The United academy produced players like Paul Scholes, one of the best midfielders in history. Scholes was a member of the illustrious Class of ’92, which included David Beckham and Gary Neville.

 

The former England international was much more than just his 155 goals and 81 assists over his 716 games for United. Scholes was an incredible passer who could pick passes that most players couldn’t even see. He was a wizard with the ball.

The midfielder making the most recent inroads into United’s first team is Kobbie Mainoo. Despite being just 19 years old, he has participated in 28 games for the Red Devils this season without once seeming out of place. It appears he will travel with England to Euro 2024 in the summer.

There is one Carrington midfielder, though, who played for United during two stints and is a contentious figure when it comes to his success at Old Trafford.

Paul Pogba’s time at Man Utd 

Here is Paul Pogba, the World Cup winner, the player in controversy. The former United player, who signed a contract with Juventus two summers ago, is presently serving a suspension for using a prohibited drug.

The question of whether Pogba was worth the £89 million transfer cost that United paid to let him go in 2016 is undoubtedly raised by his time there. In his 233 games for the team—seven of which came during his initial stint—the midfield player recorded 39 goals and 48 assists in addition to winning the Europa League and the Carabao Cup.

Pogba’s pure grace and elegance as a midfielder are undeniable, despite his high fee and his production. Unfortunately, he was frequently mislabeled as a number six and played as such, even though all of his best plays occurred higher up the field.

With 101 appearances, 17 goals, and 23 assists during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure at United, he was at the club when he played his finest football. Later in the Norwegian dynasty, he frequently played on the left wing and was very successful there.

Despite his height, Pogba is one of the best dribblers of the modern era. This is partly because his height let him easily move opponents away from him. In the 2020–21 Premier League season, Fbref claims he averaged 48.16 carries per ninety minutes, placing him in the top 14% of midfielders.

In addition, the Frenchman is an incredible passer of the ball, able to play passes of fifty or sixty yards that consistently find their intended recipient. Pogba ranked in the top 1% of players in the same season with 1.95 switches and in the top 13% with 6.26 final third passes per 90 minutes.

The former United player is an excellent aerialist who placed in the top 4% of players that season with 2.61 aerial duels won and 7.02 ball recoveries made per ninety minutes. Despite having a less effective defensive game than an offensive one, he is still a very competent defender, and part of the reason he was forced to play as a number six was because of his height.


Regretfully, Pogba has never truly been replaced by United, but their roster is still lacking a midfielder with his caliber. But Assan Ouedraogo of Germany’s second level, the Bundesliga 2, may hold the key to the solution.

Man Utd eyeing Pogba-like Casemiro replacement 

Sky Sports in Germany reports that United has “scouted him from abroad for the game against Düsseldorf,” indicating that they are undoubtedly interested in him.

Other teams would undoubtedly compete with them for Ouedraogo; Atalanta, VfB Stuttgart, Werder Bremen, and TSG Hoffenheim are rumored to be interested.

In the unlikely event that United wants to sign Ouedraogo this summer, they will need to shell out £17.1 million. Reporter Florian Plettenberg claims that the child’s contract contains a release clause worth this much.

What makes Ouedraogo so good 

Ouedraogo is a 17-year-old midfielder currently playing for German giants Schalke. He has impressed in his debut season of professional football, playing 15 times, scoring and assisting twice each.

Like Pogba, he is a lanky midfielder, yet graceful on the ball. He was described by football analyst Ben Mattinson on X as a “frightening” player who is a “great ball carrier” with “quick feet for someone standing at 191cm”.

Ouedraogo is in the top 15% and 3% of midfielders, respectively, based on his average of 2.18 progressive carries and 1.03 carries into the final third per 90 minutes, as reported by Fbref. With an average aerial duel victory rate of 1.41 per 90 minutes, which puts him in the 77th percentile, he is also skilled in the air.

Given their striking skill similarities, Manchester United may not need to search long for a Pogba substitute. But given that Casemiro appears to be a shell of his former self, the Red Devils may decide that this summer is the best moment to replace him.

If the Brazilian quits, the young German player may end up replacing Casemiro. In fact, United ought to exercise caution if they want to sign him with this in mind.

Given that Ryan Gravenberch, Kephram Thuram, and Pogba are “players who are mis-profiled as a six due to their physical prowess and height but actually are best as advanced eights,” Mattinson said that Ouedraogo shares a “similar profile” with all three of them.

Therefore, if United were to acquire Ouedraogo, Mainoo might have to play as a deeper midfielder. The 19-year-old’s finest skill set, which includes playing as an advanced eight, is undoubtedly hampered by this. In order to include Mainoo and Ouedraogo on the same team, they would probably need to recruit another player who performs best when he plays deeper.

It looks like a wise move on the part of United to sign the sensational Schalke for just £17.1m. It implies they could finally replace Casemiro and bring in a Pogba substitute. That doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

 



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