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03/07/2023 09:05

Man Utd directors board plane to sign “extraordinary” £69m ace, he’d be their own Rice – opinion

Manchester United have yet to complete any business during the transfer window, but it appears that something is on the horizon at Old Trafford.

While much of the early window’s activity has been focused on signing Mason Mount, reports suggest that United are looking to spend even more money.

According to reports in Spain (via Football 365), France international Aurelien Tchouameni is on the club’s radar.

Indeed, it has been suggested that Erik ten Hag has directed United directors to travel to Spain in order to meet with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez in order to finalise a deal.

Ten Hag sees the midfielder as an excellent option, as he is expected to leave the Spanish capital following the arrival of Jude Bellingham.

However, Madrid will not accept anything less than €80 million (£69 million).

In Europe’s top five leagues, who does Tchouameni compare to?

For some time, the Frenchman has been one of Europe’s most promising young midfielders, and he was completely deserving of a big move to La Liga last summer.

After scoring a delightful goal against England in the World Cup, the 23-year-old has only grown in stature, appearing 50 times for his club last season.

Tchouameni may not have scored, but his primary role is to dictate and break up play from the centre of the pitch.

With that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that FBref believes Arsenal-bound Declan Rice is one of his most’similar’ players.

Rice was a target for United this summer, but he appears set to join Arsenal in a £105 million deal next week.

Ten Hag will have to look for alternatives, and few are better than Tchouameni, a player dubbed “extraordinary” by fellow countryman and ex-Manchester United star Paul Pogba.

Tchouameni and Rice have had a similar level of impact in the final third over the last 365 days, with the former registering an expected goals per 90 of 0.08 compared to the latter’s xG of 00.07. Furthermore, the Irons player had 2.75 shot-creating actions to United’s 2.67.

Tchouameni tends to play longer passes more frequently, averaging 332.9 yards per 90 to Rice’s 259.8, but the success rate of medium-distance passes is very similar; 94.2% to 93.2% in favour of the Frenchman.

Their creativity is strikingly similar, with the West Ham captain averaging 1.02 key passes per 90 minutes to the Real Madrid star’s 0.94, while the difference in passes into the final third is only 0.33.

Not only are both players comfortable in possession of the ball, but they are also capable of doing the dirty work, with Tchouameni averaging 2.72 tackles per 90 minutes and Rice trailing only slightly with 2.17.

The two players in question have a lot in common, whether it’s creating chances or tracking back to win the ball for their team. Rice has already demonstrated that they are more than capable of competing in the Premier League, so his positional rival should have no trouble settling in.

You only need to look at Casemiro’s performance since making the switch to see that it can be done quickly and successfully. Along with Mount, this would be a fantastic signing for Ten Hag and company.

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