Center-back, the 3 French rising stars2 min read
The production of talented footballers in France seems to continue at an impressive rate. Looking at the rising stars, the current World Champions seems to have a chance to rely on world class defenders for the next decade or so. And Didier Deschamps will be spoiled for choice soon.
France have an enviable number of alternatives and Didier Deschamps has a vast choice of talented players to pick up from. This is becoming more and more evident when it comes to choose the center-backs. In fact, there are very few coaches in the world who has the privilege of not calling to their national team a player like Aymeric Laporte. If possible, the situation may become even more competitive in the near future if we have a look at the upcoming French rising stars. We have identified 3 center-backs who may have a very bright future in front of them.
While he has already moved to Leicester and shown his smart defensive skills, there is a lot more to come from Wesley Fofana. His valuation is growing every day and the £30 million spent by Leicester for the young defender seems a great deal right now. Despite he is only 20 years old, Fofana plays as a veteran. A natural old-style defender, Fofana is a strong player able to press forwards to regain ball control. With a great timing and perfect coordination, Fofana is a solid pillar. To become a world-class player, he needs to improve his passing skills especially if he decided to move to play for offensive teams.
Arguably the best among the three listed defenders, Dayot Upamecano is already a dream for several top-notch football teams. Unlike Fofana, Upamecano is already suitable for both defensive and construction gameplay. The 22-year old defender of RB Leipzig has been already contacted by Barcelona and Manchester United for a potential transfer. However, recently, in view of the injury of Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool seems to be strongly interested in a transfer during this upcoming January window.
The youngest of the three French prodigies, William Saliba replaced Wesley Fofana at Saint-Etienne on loan from Arsenal. Saliba is a quick and powerful defender who can tackle exceptionally well. His passing ability and positioning have been increased a lot recently and thanks to the regular play, Arsenal may have in a couple of years a world-class defender.
If you are wondering why Jules Kounde has not been inserted in the list, it is because we do not believe his potential could reach the same level of the other three. Jules Kounde is a very modern defender who has issues at… defending. Despite he is a skillful defender in term of positioning and passing, he lacks a defensive attitude typical of a center-back.