By Vibudh Dixit.
Dayot Upamecano’s career has come on leaps and bounds in the past few months. The 21-year old French central defender has been a revelation in Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig side, which boasts the joint best defensive record in the Bundesliga before the league was paused due to the coronavirus.
The young defender has been a regular starter for Leipzig this season after missing a major part of the last campaign due to a knee injury. He was always viewed as a big prospect across Europe but his true potential was being held back by injury problems.
Widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in Europe, this season he has been able to enhance his reputation further with some impressive displays.
His performances haven’t gone unnoticed, and clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Liverpool, Milan, and Bayern Munich have all shown interest in the centre back whose contract expires in June 2021. A move to a big club may not be far away for the youngster.
Upamecano’s biggest strength is undoubtedly his ability to play out from the back. He is also a brilliant tackler and has an incredible positioning sense for his age.
His speed and defensive awareness allow him to recover possession with ease, and he isn’t scared to dribble past players and involve himself in the attack.
Upamecano was overshadowed by Leipzig teammate Ibrahima Konate last season but Konate went down with a muscle in October, which has restored Upamecano’s status as the team’s leader at the back.
Upamecano previously played for other club’s in the Red Bull system — Liefering and Salzburg, before moving to Leipzig in 2017. He has represented France at all youth levels and if he can keep up his current levels of performance, a French national team call-up should not be far away.
Despite much transfer speculation surrounding him, Upamecano has set his sights on finishing the season strongly at Leipzig.
“I feel very good at RB Leipzig. I like my team-mates, the staff and my club,” he told Foot Mercato earlier this month.
“For the moment, I am still under contract until 2021. I am going to have to continue to train well and play matches. Even though I know that there are clubs that want me, that is certain, I am keeping my feet on the ground.
“We will discuss my future at the end of the season with my agents and my family. I am at Leipzig and I want to reach the aims that the club has set.”
Whoever acquires Upamecano will have a gem on their hands: a fantastic ball-playing centre-back who will be brilliant for years to come, and one who the France national team are also lucky to have.