Manchester United transfer target Boubakary Soumare has been one of the break out talents in Ligue 1 this season.
As a result, the Lille midfielder has been linked to most of the top clubs in Europe, including the Red Devils’ Premier League rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
He has played 18 games in the French topflight this campaign, with six appearances in the Champions League to boot, and at the age of 20 is already being tipped to follow in the footsteps of Paul Pogba and Tanguy Ndombele to become a future star of the Premier League.
There are legitimate similarities between Soumare and the Manchester United playmaker, but also stark differences that mark him out as a player with his own qualities.
Both midfielders are gifted with excellent tecnical abilities and imposing physiques. Pogba stands at six-foot-three and can be a nightmare for opponents to challenge for the ball given the reach of his long legs and strength in possession. Soumare is only an inch shorter than his World Cup-winning compatriot.
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Rather than being awkward or rigid as can often be the case with tall and broad players, he too is a footballer at his best when he can show off his graceful control of the ball at his feet.
Soumare is also similar to Pogba in his relative lack of defensive contributions in midfield, with the pair often relying on others to make more of an impact when possession is lost, but while the United midfielder is known for the threat he can offer to his team in the final third, Lille’s box-to-box prodigy does not have the same impact when on the attack.
He is not the player to find solutions to break down a stubborn defence. Instead, his infuence is in deeper positions as the midfielder who can get the ball into the final third for others to then create chances based on his hard work in the centre of the pitch.