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United Negotiating Contract With €27m Rated Bundesliga Midfielder | Will he be a Good Signing?

Denis Zakaria, United

Manchester United have needed a defensive midfielder for over two years now. With Matic ageing, the Red Devils have largely used Fred and McTominay in a double pivot. However, there has been a lingering sensation among fans that an upgrade in this position would improve the team. Latest reports suggest United are looking to sign Denis Zakaria of Borussia Monchengladbach.

United have been linked to several players in the past to fill this void. Declan Rice, Aurelien Tchouameni and Boubacar Kamara are all names that have been linked in the past. But, The latest United target comes from the Bundesliga, Swiss defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Denis Zakaria, Manchester United
Image Obtained Via: We All Follow United

The 25-year-old has been with Monchengladbach since 2017, after signing from BSC Young Boys. The Swiss international established himself as a crucial part of Marco Rose’s team. He often featured in a double pivot alongside Florian Neuhaus.

Zakaria is out of contract in June 2022. This has attracted the attention of various clubs, including Liverpool and Bayern Munich. The German club reportedly are looking for a transfer fee of around £6-7 Million, as reported by German channel SPORT1 (via United in Focus).

Journalist Simon Dobson (via Sports Illustrated) reports that Manchester United have already entered contract negotiations with ‘Gladbach for Denis Zakaria. Earlier, it was reported that Liverpool were leading the race to sign the midfielder, but now it seems United might be the ones to snap up the player.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils have also presented a contract offer to Zakaria’s agents to look at, as reported by BILD (via The Sun). It is believed that the Manchester club are willing to pay Monchengladbach’s quoted valuation for the 25-year-old.

However, Zakaria’s fitness and availability is one of his biggest issues. Since signing with the German club, the midfielder never registered over 25 league starts in a single season, except for his debut season (17-18). This includes a knee injury that ruled him out for almost 9 months in 2020.

Denis Zakaria
Image Obtained Via;

When fit, however, Zakaria has the potential to be a major asset for Rangnick’s team. The 25-year-old is not only a quality ball winner, but also composed in possession and useful in driving the ball up-field. He can also play as a contingency centre-back.

£6 million is a bargain for a player of his quality and could turn out to be a low-risk high-return deal for the Red Devils. The midfielder reportedly earns a salary of 2.1 million pounds a year, which could make him one of the lowest earners at the club too.

Denis Zakaria Player Profile

A. Possession and Progressions:

Zakaria is a player who is comfortable on the ball. He is also good at carrying the ball forward. However, the ex-Young Boys mid tends to pick out shorter and safer passes. In a midfield alongside a deep-lying playmaker, or behind a creative playmaker, Zakaria could thrive.

Stats Via:

B. Shooting and Creativity:

From a deeper position, Zakaria does not offer much of an end product. However, he is a clinical finisher, and a useful target from set-pieces too. The Swiss international has 2 goals from an xG of just 1.0 this season. He also has an assist to his name.

Stats Via:

C. Defending:

Zakaria is renowned to be one of the best ball-winning midfielders in the Bundesliga, if not the world. Although the 25-year-old is not required to press much, he is a solid player in disrupting opposition attacks and regaining possession. His energy on the field would be perfect for Rangnick.

Stats Via:


Denis Zakaria is a very good midfielder and quite well-rounded. He is a safe option on the ball, and a valuable asset off possession. His relatively low cost is an attractive factor too. However, United need to consider profiles while evaluating the signing.

Zakaria offers qualities not unlike that of Fred, albeit more defensively oriented. Both are players who drive the ball forward and are active defensively across the field. While this could be an ideal pairing in Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2, it may not be the best option in a different formation.

Zakaria 2021-22 Heat-Map Image Obtained Via: Sofascore

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Manchester United need a ‘sitter’ in midfield, an anchor who covers space ahead of the centre-backs. Such a player would be required to play relatively deeper, connecting play between the defence and midfield. At Monchengladbach, Neuhaus executes this function.

While a player like Denis Zakaria improves United in the short and long run, he will not be a solution to all of their problems. If the Red Devils are willing to pursue another defensive midfield profile in the summer, while clearing deadwood, Zakaria could be a valuable addition. However, he will not be the single solution to United’s double pivot problem.

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Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

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