The transfer window must nearly be open because most of the news surrounding Manchester United currently is on which players will be walking through the doors at Old Trafford in January.
The ongoing central defender saga is alive with Jose Mourinho, still believed to be keen on Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen. The Belgian international is likely to be just one of many linked to United between now and the end of January.
One rumour has caught our eye though. A player, who has helped his club beat and draw with Manchester City this season, must have something going for him and United are being heavily linked to Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele, according to the Manchester Evening News.
We are going to take a closer look at Ndombele and decide whether he is a good fit for Jose’s United.
Ndombele at Lyon
As you can see in the above, Ndombele is a midfielder who has been utilised slightly to the right this season.
In 2018/19, Lyon have used a formation that has three central midfielders 62% of the time with Ndombele usually having the protection of a deeper midfielder.
26% of the time, he has been used in a two when Lyon have played a 4231 or a 4411 shape.
With United typically playing a 4231 or a 433 shape, Ndombele in theory at least would be in a familiar tactical shape, if not tactical style.
Above we have compared the young Frenchman’s stats to two players he could be directly competing with at United; Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera.
Straight away you can see that Ndombele has a better success rate % of his total actions that Pogba. Ndombele completes 70% of his actions successfully, ahead of Pogba’s 67.7%. Ander Herrera leads all three with 70.7%, marginally up on Ndombele.
When it comes to successful dribbles, Ndombele again leads Pogba with a 77% success rate.
Passing accuracy? Ndombele again, with 89% success.
Duels won? Ndombele once again beats both Pogba and Herrera with his 77.8% success rate.
Could it be that this is the midfielder United are crying out for?
The reason I reach a conclusion that is very much parked on the fence is for several reasons.
Firstly, Ndombele is achieving these numbers in Ligue 1, whereas Pogba and Herrera are achieving theirs in the Premier League under considerably more pressure than Ndombele is under at Lyon.
Secondly, Ndombele is possibly the worst fit for Mourinho in terms of a player he gets success from managing. Ndombele is young, coming from a lesser league and has not played for a coach who places such defensive tactical constraints on a player as Mourinho would undoubtedly do.
Finally, the stats cannot tell us anything about how Ndombele would cope with such a big move at such a young age.
Do I feel that he would be a good signing for United? Yes, without a doubt. But I would temper that with not under the current manager. For me, the two do not fit each other and Ndombele could well find himself losing a year of his development sitting alongside Fred in the stands.
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