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Upamecano: The 19 year old, Barca and Man United are interested in.

By Prashanth Kumar Purshotam
Dayot Upamecano

Bengaluru, April 17: Here we have yet another French teenager whose form has attracted European giants like FC Barcelona and Manchester United. France must really have a talent factory that is churning out top players with ease.

However, this time it isn’t a forward or a midfielder. Dayot Upamecano, who represented France in the Euro under 17 tournament and won the same, had attracted Red Devils’ interest way back in 2015 before he signed to Red Bull Salzburg in July, the same year from his youth training club Valenciennes FC. The reported fee was around £2.2m.

After being an unused substitute in Salzburg, his debut was for Red Bull’s farm team FC Liefering in a 2-1 win over St Polten in the Austrian Second Division on July 31, 2015.

In January, 2017, he joined the Bundesliga side RB Leipzig on four-and-half year contract with a fee of £8.6m and he became the youngest ever player for RB Leipzig.

Though it looks easy for the French centre back, in an interview, he has stated that he had to struggle a lot to reach high technical standards that is required to play at the top. His youth at Valenciennes agrees with him too, after stating that Upemecano was hardly a natural and has had to work on everything to reach this level.

In this Bundesliga season, he has featured in the starting XI in 22 of the 29 matches for RB Leipzig. With an 84.6 per cent pass accuracy rate along with winning 3.3 aerial duels per game, it is quite remarkable that he is still a teenager.

He has been amongst the top six for interceptions and recovery and in the top five for headed clearances. All these top notch stats have led to a number of clubs being interested in the 19 year old. However, the pundits seem to have Barcelona and Manchester United as the serious contenders.

However, trying to poach a player from RB Leipzig is not as easy as many may think. He has a £86m release clause and going by how RB Leipzig dealt with Liverpool for Naby Keita, they will ensure the release clause is paid.

Many have suggested that Barcelona are in pole position to land him as they are in a tricky situation. After Javier Mascherano moved to the Chinese Super League and Samuel Umtiti refusing to resign an improved contract, Barcelona are only left with Pique as the only sure centre back.

Upamecano, on the other hand, has shown not so interest by stating that he sees no reason to change his club though he had also added that it would be a childhood dream of every footballer to play for big clubs like FC Barcelona, Manchester United or Real Madrid.

One thing is for sure, whoever decides to bid for him will get a top notch centre back who will play at the highest level for at least a decade or even more!

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Story first published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 9:46 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 17, 2018
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