Monaco was a happy hunting ground for Premier League sides in the past couple of years. Together with their documented interest in left-back Fodé Ballo-Toure, Chelsea seem set to rekindle that tradition.
Kylian Mbappé transferred to Paris Saint-Germain for £166million. The subsequent year, Fabinho finished a move to Liverpool.
But there is still talent coming from Monaco.
Monaco are not the force they have been in 2016/17.
You would be forgiven, then, for overlooking Ballo-Touré, a 23-year-old product of Paris Saint-Germain’s academy who have been a Monaco player since last January.
Produced in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine at the north-central area of France, 15 miles outside Paris, Ballo-Touré started his career in the funds. He featured for PSG’s B group between 2014 and 2017 prior to leaving on a free.
Lille, then under the auspices of Marcelo Bielsa, chose Ballo-Touré on a free move that summertime. He performed regularly across the following season-and-a-half until Monaco compensated $11million mid-season to ward off relegation.
Les Monegasques were powerful — just after former manager Leonardo Jardim substituted Thierry Henry, and Ballo-Touré has gone out of strength-to-strength.
He’s quite wiry, 5ft 10ins tall and every inch the contemporary full-back in his athleticism — mixing power and pace to fantastic effect.
Therefore, he rolls up and down the left-hand for pleasure, leaving defenders in his wake. Capable of moving down the line by knocking the ball forward and charging it onto, or forcing indoors to open space, Ballo-Touré’s motor and fast ft to make him a constant danger. When he gets moving, he is very tough to knock the ball off.
In Ligue 1 season, he has averaged 3.6 dribbles per 90 with 2.2 successful. In addition to that, Ballo-Touré averages 2.7 progressive runs per 90. Based on Wyscout’s directory, a progressive run is:
… space prior to the beginning point and the final touch of this participant is:
At least 30 metres nearer to the opponent’s target when finishing and starting points are in their own half.
Or, 15 metres nearer to the opponent’s target when finishing and starting points are at distinct area halves.
Or, 10 meters closer to the opponent’s target when finishing and starting points are at the opponent’s half.
Another matter Ballo-Touré does a great deal is to cross the ball. He tries 3.05 per 90, of which approximately one joins with a Monaco participant. Given that the period of time he spends in complex areas and the number of crosses that he delivers, this can be an underwhelming yield.
Crossing is something that the French youth worldwide should operate on. His delivery is inconsistent, at best, and although a few of his better spans are tarnished by the poor finishing, he frequently overhits the ball misses his team-mates completely.
Therefore, he is yet to record an assist in Ligue 1 this year. That metric could be misleading, however. Even if a player indulges on a high amount of opportunities, they are disappointed by poor finishing. From Ballo-Touré’s anticipated assists (xA) complete for the season is merely 0.05. So he is not even generating high-value chances for Monaco.
On the other hand, his speed is an advantage. That is because his positioning is not the very best and he’s vulnerable to being captured too high up the area, leaving space in behind. He wins foot races but maybe awkward when conducting towards his own purpose, especially because he does not always become tight.
When he’s right, he is powerful, tenacious, and a fantastic tackler. His 4.15 interceptions are a fantastic sign too.
Alonso is a much better going forward than defensively, while his talent for goalscoring is comparable to that of a centre-forward. Emerson, meanwhile, is much less of a danger going forward however a reliable defender. In a perfect world, Lampard would find a person who can carry out both functions.
Whether that’s Ballo-Touré is open to disagreement. The Monaco No.2 has attributes and without the ball. However, it would be erroneous to say he is better than Alonso or more defensively noise than Emerson.
Because of this, Lampard will be better focusing his attention on additional reports objectives such as Ben Chilwell or Alex Telles.