Manchester United are weighing up a potential January move for RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara, according to reports.
The Times suggest that incoming interim boss Ralf Rangnick is eager to recruit an energetic central-midfielder to help him implement his famously high-intensity pressing approach, with Haidara said to be a priority target.
The Malian is well-regarded by Rangnick, who was responsible for his move to current club Leipzig back in 2018.
Subsequently, the Daily Mail report that United are expected to have scouts in attendance at both of Haidara’s next two outings - a Bundesliga clash against Union Berlin on Friday and a Champions League showdown against Manchester City next week.
It is understood that the 23-year-old has a release clause of around £33 million written into his current contract.
Who is Amadou Haidara?
Haidara has enjoyed quite the meteoric rise over the past five years.
As recently as 2016, the midfielder was plying his trade for JMG Academy Bamako in his home country, but after securing a move to RB Salzburg in the summer of that year, he has gone from strength to strength.
His performances in Austria eventually earned him a move to Germany with Rangnick’s impressive Leipzig side, and he has gone on to establish himself as a key component in the Bundesliga outfit’s squad.
Haidara wracked up his 100th appearance for the club last weekend, picking up 10 goals, six assists, and an admirable 24 senior caps for Mali in that time too.
By and large, the 23-year-old operates as a defensive midfielder, but his natural energy and ability to stride through the centre of the park also makes him an effective box-to-box talent too.
How likely are Manchester United to seal the deal?
The early indicators are that they would have a fairly decent chance.
Much has been made of Haidara’s prior working relationship with Rangnick, as has the fact that the player has been vocal in his ambitions to play for a club like United at some point in his career.
A £3million release clause feels like a relatively affordable outlay, and there’s no doubting that the Red Devils need to address their engine-room frailties as a matter of urgency.
There could still be stumbling blocks, however.
For one thing, it’s hard to imagine Leipzig being overly thrilled at the prospect of losing one of their key talents mid-season, although that apparent release clause could take the matter out of their hands to some extent.
Perhaps more pertinently, a newly-moneyed Newcastle United have also been linked with a potential swoop for Haidara - as per SportBild - although, again, you would have to imagine that the prospect of a reunion with Rangnick at Old Trafford would be more alluring than a looming relegation battle and the threat of Championship football next season.
What are the fans saying?
The overwhelming response to the speculation surrounding Haidara has been very, very positive.
@UtdGen tweeted: “If it’s true Ralf Rangnick wants Amadou Haidara, then sign him @ManUtd.”
@LISound_ tweeted: “Knowing very little about Amadou Haidara, I’m thankful that Man United finally have a manager that makes me confident that a player is the kind that we need without knowing anything other than that our manager likes him.”
@JoeBW_6 tweeted: “If Man united were to go and sign a midfielder, Amadou Haidara is a very good option. He has a very good record of progressive passing, carries the ball, is very good defensively, and he is good on the ball.”
@UtdRoo tweeted: “Sell Lingard and Mata and get in Haidara imo.”