Who is Ibrahim Sangare? The PSV juggernaut linked with Man Utd and Liverpool


The main midfield target for a number of top teams this summer was Aurelien Tchouameni. The Frenchman enjoyed a stunning campaign with Monaco, who while reluctant to lose the young midfielder, were somewhat resigned to his departure in the off-season. Tchouameni chipped in with a series of fine performances that belied his tender years and the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United were among those courting the Monaco star. 


Unfortunately for the Premier League trio, among others, Tchouameni looks set for a high profile summer switch to Real Madrid. Los Blancos have an ageing midfield, with Luka Modric turning 37 in September and Toni Kroos having turned 32 at the turn of the year. Along with Casemiro, the triumvirate have dominated Spanish and continental football in recent years and breaking up such an effective trio will be done so with a heavy heart. 


However, if Real Madrid are to continue their dominance at home and abroad, they need to revamp their midfield and the expected arrival of Tchouameni to compliment last summer's addition of compatriot Eduardo Camavinga means the Spanish and European champions are preparing for the future. For rival sides that were monitoring Tchouameni, however, it is back to the drawing board. 


They needn't look too far, though, if they are aiming to strengthen in the middle the park and a cursory glance across to the Netherlands should reveal the ideal midfielder. To put it bluntly, Ibrahim Sangare was excellent for PSV this season. They ran Ajax all the way in the Eredivisie title race with the Ivorian a key man in midfield. Indeed a WhoScored rating of 7.49 was the sixth best in the Dutch top tier this term, while only attacker Cody Gakpo (7.79) placed higher of all PSV players. 


While Tchouameni will cost Real Madrid a reported £70m, PSV supposedly value Sangare at around £30m. For a player who is just two years older, the latter could prove an astute capture for any side this summer. PSV landed themselves a bargain when they signed Sangare from Toulouse in 2020 for a rumoured £7m, so they stand to make a hefty profit on the Ivorian. 


There was room for improvement following a bright debut campaign in Eindhoven, but Sangare took the league by storm this term with his WhoScored rating enough to make the team of the season, and deservedly so. Sangare made more tackles and interceptions combined (169) than any other player in the Eredivisie this season, this despite starting just 26 of 34 league matches. 



And it wasn't just in the Netherlands where Sangare earned plenty of admirers, but in continental competition too. "Ibrahim Sangare is better on one leg than Leicester’s midfield. He is extraordinary. This season, he has been the king of PSV," former PSV boss Aad de Mos said after their Europa Conference League quarter-final loss to Leicester last month 


While PSV crashed out of the competition, Sangare left a lasting impression and the high priase is justified after what was a superb showing, one of many for the Dutch giants this season. What is key for the modern day ball winner is not just winning possession, but also make the right decision when the ball is won. 


Some may believe Sangare is purely one to stop opponents from scoring, however he offers so much more when he does regain possession. Of the 69 players to attempt 50 or more dribbles in the Eredivisie this term, Sangare returned the eighth best success rate (68.1%), and he breaks the opposition midfield ranks without so much as a breaking a sweat. This opens up fresh angles in the attacking third that can be exploited by teammates and while the Cote d'Ivoire international did only directly contribute to five of PSV's 86 league goals in 2021/22, he sought to shift the ball foward as frequently as possible. 


626 forward passes was the 21st best of all outfield players in the Eredivisie this season, a commendable return for a central midfielder in a metric that is often dominated by goalkeepers and defenders. This progressive approach when on the ball is another weapon in his arsenal that potential suitors would benefit from, as PSV did this season. And if he needs to keep it simple? Well, he does that to a pretty good standard too with an 86.1% pass success rate ranking 17th in the Eredivisie. In all, he is a jack of trades midfielder having been the only Eredivisie player to make in excess of 1.5 tackles, 1.5 interceptions,1.5 dribbles and 50 passes per game, so he'd be an ideal pick up for any elite side seeking silverware. 


Tchouameni may have been the in-demand young midfielder for Europe's elite this summer, however Sangare is the cut price alternative who has the potential to dominate midfields for years to come. Whoever does secure his services, provided he does leave PSV, will land themselves a juggernaut of a midfielder.

Who is Ibrahim Sangare? The PSV juggernaut linked with Man Utd and Liverpool