In the end, France failed to defend their World Cup title in Qatar by the barest margins as Lionel Messi fulfilled his destiny. However, the two-time world champion still possesses the best talent out of all national teams. And one of the men who could be the next superstar for Les Bleus is Moussa Diaby, one the finest young wingers across Europe.
Playing for Bayer Leverkusen, Diaby is a product of the Paris Saint Germain youth academy that has, over the years, produced some fine young talents, such as the 17-year-old Warren Zaire Emery, who played against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
However, Diaby is one of the best products to come out of the academy in recent years. The youngster is also slowly becoming an integral part of the French national football team and, with Mbappe, could form one of the deadliest attacking duos in football.
And in the last three years, he has gone from strength to strength, rising from a talented youngster to one of the brightest players across Europe. This means that signing Moussa Diaby will be a goal for many top clubs come summer, which is a testament to how great a player he has become.
Moussa Diaby stats
Moussa Diaby has scored eight goals and provided four assists this season in the Bundesliga. In addition, Diaby has scored three goals and three assists in DFB Pokal and Europa League. A deeper look at the stats shows the brilliance of Moussa Diaby.
According to Soccerment, Diaby is the second-best player in Bundesliga on the Expected Threat (xT) metric. The xT metric measures how a player uses his passing or progressive carries to take the ball into dangerous areas and contributes to the team’s attacks. And the stats show that Diaby is second both in xT and xT from carries in the entire league.
Diaby also ranks fifth in the Bundesliga on the Expected Offensive Value Added (xOVA), a metric that measures the total attacking output of a player on the pitch. The Frenchman has also created 12 big chances in the German league, the fifth-best in the league. We must remember that these impressive stats have come for a Leverkusen side that is currently eighth in the table, making him one of the few positives of the current season.
Continuing his brilliant form, Diaby ranks among the top ten players in the German league in successful crosses, Expected Assists from open play, and non-penalty Expected Goals. Another interesting stat about the player is how he alternates the use of his feet depending on whether he is shooting or passing.
Taking stats from Understat, we see that since joining the club in 2019, Diaby has scored 30 goals and provided 31 assists in the league. However, there is a difference in which foot he uses depending on the situation. Among the 30 goals, 25 came from his strong left foot, but in the 31 assists, 11 came from his left foot, 15 from his weak right foot and five from his header, which shows that while he may prefer one foot from shooting in terms of creating, Diaby is equally threatening from both of his legs.
Moussa Diaby’s strengths and weaknesses
In Bayer Leverkusen’s system, Moussa Diaby is played on the right side of the attack both in the 4-2-3-1 or the 4-3-3 formation This allows him to drift and use the inside right channel, acting as an inverted winger and get the ball on his strong foot. However, his off-the-ball movements are the greatest threat to any opposition.
His heatmap from the current season is a perfect example of that. As soon as he enters the opposition half, Diaby’s movements are directed whether he has the ball or not. If he has the ball, Diaby generally tries to take the play through the inside right channel. Without the ball, the Frenchman tries to stay on the wings, which usually takes a defender or two out of position and leaves space open across the pitch for his teammates to exploit.
These skills have been more evident since Xabi Alnoso took over in October, under whom Diaby scored all his league goals. Moreover, he has a brilliant pace to back all these aforementioned skills.
As mentioned earlier, Diaby is brilliant at creating spaces. However, he is equally good at exploiting those spaces, especially in and around the opposition’s goal. This season, six of his strikes in the league came inside the box, where Diaby made the perfect movements to leave his marker and get the black in an advantageous area to score.
However, one area where Diaby struggles is his lack of defensive work. Since he is usually the man who is on the end of long balls from defence, Diaby always positions himself up the pitch. But Diaby also fails to contribute while trying to win the ball back, especially in the attacking third.
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According to fbref, Diaby makes only one tackle in 12 games, among the bottom two percentile of attacking midfielders and wingers. He also ranks among the bottom five percentile of attackers. However, Leverkusen’s tactics are also responsible for curtailing some of his defensive work.
Moussa Diaby transfer news
If a player as talented as Moussa Diaby plays in a team like Bayer Leverkusen, it is only a question of when and not if he leaves the club. Having one of the best young players in their squad is a proposition no team would turn down.
And the top three clubs chasing the signature of the talented Frenchman are Premier League leaders Arsenal, his boyhood club Paris Saint Germain and Newcastle United, the rising force in football.
With Lionel Messi not getting any younger, PSG want a young player who could be their next star in the attack. On the other hand, Arsenal also want to bolster their attack for the next season, where they will be challenging for titles across several competitions. But Newcastle also have a brilliant project where Diaby could become the leading player.
Bayer Leverkusen know that Diaby is bound to leave the club, but with so many clubs chasing his signature. However, with so many top clubs chasing him, the German club will be bound to get a hefty paycheck, which does justice to Moussa Diaby’s talent.