Amadou Haidara is EXACTLY the type of hard working, intense pressing player Ralf Rangnick loves... the £33million Leipzig midfielder models his box-to-box game on Steven Gerrard and has admitted his 'dream club' is Manchester United

Manchester United will scout RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara this weekThe Mali international has a release clause of £33m in his Leipzig dealHe worked closely with new Man United interim coach Ralf Rangnick at the clubHaidara, 23, suits Rangnick's 'gegenpressing' style and is a box-to-box playerHe is inspired by style of legendary former Liverpool midfielder Steven GerrardUnited may swoop in January and Haidara could solve their midfield issues  

Ralf Rangnick is a coach who demands that every one of his players fully buys into his footballing philosophy. You’re either on board with his hard-running, hard-pressing style, or you’re history.

So as the German arrives at Old Trafford to serve as Manchester United’s interim manager, it hasn’t taken long for stories to appear linking the club to Amadou Haidara.

Haidara is very much Rangnick’s man, having played for both Red Bull Salzburg and then their German sister club RB Leipzig.

Incoming Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick (left) could move for midfielder Amadou Haidara (right) in January, a player he knows well from RB Leipzig

Incoming Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick (left) could move for midfielder Amadou Haidara (right) in January, a player he knows well from RB Leipzig 

Mali international Haidara, 23, is understood to have a £33m release clause in his Leipzig deal

Mali international Haidara, 23, is understood to have a £33m release clause in his Leipzig deal

The 23-year-old midfielder understands what Rangnick requires of his players and his skillset neatly fits the style of football we’re imminently about to see at United.

Haidara, who is understood to have a £33million release clause, will be watched by United scouts in two upcoming Leipzig matches – against Union Berlin in the Bundesliga on Friday and Manchester City in the Champions League next week.

If they like what they see, Haidara could be heading to Manchester in January, offering a potential solution to the ongoing problem United have in midfield as Rangnick rebuilds them.

Here’s all you need to know about the player nicknamed Doudou.


What type of player do United need and can Haidara tick the boxes?

Rangnick knows precisely what he wants from his teams and isn’t known as the ‘Godfather of Gegenpressing’ for nothing.

There will be a shake-up at United when he finally gets on the training ground, with players required to run further and work harder when it comes to hassling opponents and winning the ball back.

It was evident in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea, overseen by caretaker boss Michael Carrick, that United’s pressing game was already more intense than it had been under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Midfield trio Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic all put a shift in and the pressure put on Jorginho by Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford forced a mistake that led to United’s goal.

Haidara tackles Nuno Mendes of PSG during a recent Champions League encounter

Haidara tackles Nuno Mendes of PSG during a recent Champions League encounter

Rangnick doesn’t have the luxury of much time when it comes to transforming United’s fortunes so signing a player like Haidara, who already understands exactly what he wants, would be helpful.

The Malian feels he is at his best when playing the No 6 or the No 8 role, which is where United need him. He’s going to be deployed deep in midfield alongside either Fred or McTominay.

Julian Nagelsmann liked to move Haidara around the midfield during his final season as Leipzig coach in 2020-21, stationing him on the right and the left in certain games.

Haidara (right) celebrates a goal with Christopher Nkunku against Borussia Dortmund

Haidara (right) celebrates a goal with Christopher Nkunku against Borussia Dortmund

But this season, new coach Jesse Marsch has played him almost exclusively as a central or defensive midfielder.

It best suits the skill set of a player who brings plenty of energy, isn’t afraid to get stuck into the tackle, can ride challenges well, sprints forward with the ball with good control and, naturally, presses hard.

The stats show that in his 12 Bundesliga appearances this season, Haidara puts pressure on opponents an average of 19.67 times per game. 

He’ll need to replicate and even increase that if he comes to the Premier League.

Handily, Haidara probably won’t need too much convincing to come to United.

In a 2018 interview with FootMali, he said: ‘My dream club is Manchester United. I will fight with all my strength to one day play for that club’. 

Julian Nagelsmann likes to play Haidara in different positions when he coached Leipzig

Julian Nagelsmann likes to play Haidara in different positions when he coached Leipzig

Who influenced Haidara?

Haidara’s role model, ironically given he’s linked with Man United, is Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.

He said in a recent interview: ‘He was a fighter, a captain who never gives up. When I was a kid, I used to watch all his Premier League games.

‘He was so intense – and that’s what I want to show on the pitch as well. He inspired me a lot.’

So Haidara fancies himself as an all-action, box-to-box midfielder in the Gerrard mould.

United would certainly welcome that, especially if Paul Pogba leaves the club next year as looks likely when his contract expires.

Haidara's role model is Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who was an all-action midfielder

Haidara’s role model is Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who was an all-action midfielder

Haidara’s stats bear this out. He has two Bundesliga goals from 12 attempts at goal so far this season and netted six times as well as setting up a further three last term.

So not only would Haidara lead United’s midfield pressing but he isn’t afraid to push forward into the box when they have the ball. He has also proven he can finish chances when they fall his way.

In this regard, he’ll be an upgrade on Fred, whose finishing has become a bit of a running joke, and McTominay, who probably wouldn’t be far enough forward to get a shot in the first place.

But his primary job would be to ensure United get a grip in midfield battles, something that just hasn’t happened in too many games this season.

Haidara has three goals in all competitions this season and does find the net fairly regularly

Haidara has three goals in all competitions this season and does find the net fairly regularly 

What are his connections with Rangnick?

It was in 2016 when Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg scouted Haidara at the Jean-Marc Guillou Academy in Bamako, the Malian capital city.

He would make 83 appearances for the club before switching to Leipzig midway through the 2018-19 season.

At that time, Rangnick was in his second spell as Leipzig’s coach and having also served as director of football for both clubs, he would have been well aware of Haidara’s potential.

He arrived at Leipzig sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury but when fit, Rangnick ensured he played at least some part in the final nine Bundesliga games of the season.

Haidara dressed in some colourful clothes in a post on his Instagram account

Haidara dressed in some colourful clothes in a post on his Instagram account 

The Mali international could fly in to help save Manchester United's season in January

The Mali international could fly in to help save Manchester United’s season in January

He also played a bit-part role as Leipzig reached the German Cup final, where they lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich.

Rangnick moved upstairs again that summer, making way for Nagelsmann, but clearly still admires a talent the scouting operation he helped establish at the two Red bull-owned clubs helped to unearth.

The Premier League would, of course, carry plenty of unknowns for both coach and player but Haidara certainly seems well-equipped for the challenge.

What are the implications for United’s current players?

If Haidara does arrive – and that £33m release clause on a player contracted to Leipzig until 2025 seems reasonable enough – then there will plenty of knock-on effects.

Assuming he comes in and adapts quickly, Rangnick could phase Pogba out of the side as his contract ticks down and begin planning for the next season, when he will still be a consultant at least and potentially still the coach.

Haidara settling in well at United would make life easier when it comes to Pogba's final months

Haidara settling in well at United would make life easier when it comes to Pogba’s final months

That could solve any issues around Pogba’s performance after returning from injury and also minimise the inevitable distractions as the French midfielder looks for a new club.

It would also reduce the reliance on Fred and McTominay, who haven’t been at all convincing as United’s midfield pair this season. Haidara would slot in alongside one of them with a bit of rotation.

Matic, at 33, would be unlikely to feature too often and if Haidara does thrive as a No 8 in the Premier League, connecting well with Bruno Fernandes ahead of him, then it’s bad news for Donny van de Beek.

Donny van de Beek (left) is playing more but Haidara's arrival could push him out again

Donny van de Beek (left) is playing more but Haidara’s arrival could push him out again

The Dutchman, who cost United £40m, is finally getting a bit more time on the pitch having warmed the bench for most of Solskjaer’s final weeks.

But it’s hard to see where exactly he fits in unless he finds some sparkling form from nowhere to take the place of Fernandes.

More likely, Rangnick will put his faith in a combative midfield player he knows and trusts.

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