With the departure of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, there is a dearth of midfield options available to new Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag. A couple of reinforcements are highly likely and the club is currently trying to negotiate a deal with Barcelona for Frenkie De Jong. Multiple reports have also indicated that the Red Devils are also targeting a defensive midfielder, with PSV Eindhoven’s Ibrahim Sangare high on the list of potential options.
Sangare had a brilliant season in the Eredivisie and Sky Sports are reporting that United have joined the race for the former FC Toulouse starlet. The 20-time champions are not alone however, with multiple Premier League sides like Chelsea and Liverpool also interested, to name a few.
The Ivory Coast international was one of the shining lights for PSV in a successful season where the club won the Dutch Cup while running Ten Hag’s former side Ajax close in the league, to ultimately finish second. He was primarily used by Roger Schmidt as the lone defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation.
He excelled in continental competitions as well, helping the Dutch team to the quarter finals of the Europa Conference League where they lost to Premier League side Leicester City.
His display against the 2015-16 Premier League champions made former PSV boss Aad de Mos purr in delight. “Ibrahim Sangare is better on one leg than Leicester’s midfield. He is extraordinary. This season, he has been the king of PSV,” he was quoted as saying.
💪 Ibrahim Sangare finished the 2021/22 Eredivisie campaign with more tackles and interceptions combined (169) than any other player
📝 He could prove a superb addition to any side in need of a central midfielder this summer 👇https://t.co/6bbSP1Ws7L
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 4, 2022
His stats make for interesting reading. Despite starting only 26 league games, the Ivorian completed more tackles and interceptions combined (169) than any other player in the Eredivisie last season. That’s not all as he was second among midfielders to win back possession in the final third and ranked third for passes completed and duels won.
He also contributed four goals and the same number of assists in all competitions during the course of the season. His height and physicality would be a perfect fit for the Premier League and he possesses good skills with the ball and can thread a pass.
The 24-year-old is said to have his heart set on moving to England and is convinced he will be a Premier League player next season.
PSV pulled off a bargain deal back in 2020, paying only a rumoured £7m for his services after Toulouse got relegated from Ligue 1. He currently has three years remaining on his deal with the Eredivisie club and reportedly has a release clause of around €35m (£29.9m).
Defensive midfield has been a neglected position for the Old Trafford club for far too long. The last elite out-and-out player to arrive in that position was Matic but the transfer came at a time when his powers were on the wane. A host of clubs were looking to reinforce in that position and the No 1 target for all the top clubs was Aurélien Tchouaméni.
However, Real Madrid won the race to sign the highly-rated midfielder. The Abidjan-born player would prove to be an astute buy for any top club. He is just a couple of years older than the Frenchman and is an even better physical specimen. His release clause is considerably lower when compared to current United target De Jong and can turn out to be a bargain in the long run.
The Red Devils’ senior midfield options are limited with only Fred, Scott McTominay and Donny Van de Beek currently on the books at Old Trafford. The 24-year-old’s stats show he can go toe-to-toe with the best in the business. While reports were linking United with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté, Sangare would be a much better option considering his age and the fact that Ten Hag will know all about him from his time back at Ajax.