Prospective Manchester United minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has already been getting stuck in behind the scenes at the club and was reportedly culpable for the decision to relieve CEO Richard Arnold of his duties on Wednesday after 16 years on the board.
However, Sir Jim is not only focusing on the hierarchy but has also been scouting the transfer market to find hidden gems that could excel in the Premier League. As per the latest reports, the 71-year-old may have just found one.
Ratcliffe’s transfer plans at Man United
According to journalist Fabrice Hawkins, Manchester United are closely monitoring Youssouf Fofana’s situation at AS Monaco.
The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the 2024/25 season but the Red Devils are facing close competition from Italian giants Juventus and French champions Paris Saint-Germain for his signature.
The France international, who reached the World Cup final in Qatar with Les Bleues, is said to be worth around £35m as per CIES Football Observatory, which looks relatively cheap for a club like Man United, having spent over £400m since Erik ten Hag took charge eighteen months ago.
Fofana has had an excellent season with Monaco in Ligue 1 as Adi Hutter’s side currently sit third in the table, three points behind rivals and holders PSG, with the 24-year-old proving to be Les Monégasques’ most important component in midfield. Football Talent Scout once called Fofana a “magnificent player” for his displays at the Stade Louis-II and now the midfielder could be on his way to the Theatre of Dreams.
How Youssouf Fofana compares to Paul Pogba
The duo have quite a lot in common, although Fofana has been outperforming his compatriot in a number of key metrics this season compared to Pogba’s final campaign in English football, the last we really saw of him at his peak.
|Per 90 Metrics||Youssouf Fofana||Paul Pogba|
|Passes to the Final Third||5.98||6.6|
|Carries to the Final Third||3.16||1.73|
Fofana has performed better in on-the-ball stats such as progressive passes and progressive carries to the final third, as well as out-of-possession metrics like tackles won and interceptions made compared to Pogba. While United’s former number ‘6’ averaged more in other vital stats, Monaco’s man isn’t too far behind.
Interestingly, according to FBref’s player comparison model, Fofana is most similar to Chelsea star Enzo Fernandez as well as Newcastle United’s Bruno Guimaraes this term which is exactly the mould of midfielder that Ten Hag needs for his side to start dictating games.
Compared to all other midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues over the past calendar year, the Frenchman is in the top 8% for progressive passes per 90 and the top 19% for passes into the final third per 90. Additionally, Fofana is in the top 11% for through balls per 90 and the top 1% for goal-creating shots.
Fofana would be an astute acquisition by the Red Devils and would point towards the change in recruitment that Sir Jim criticised the club for during meetings with the board by adding a player with bags of potential for relatively cheap.