Ibrahima Diallo: 6 Things to Know About French Defensive Midfielder

Transfer deadline day is coming fast up the road and moves are being completed, mooted and talked about across the board. One of the names making the headlines recently is Ibrahima Diallo, who looks set to be leaving Ligue 1 side Stade Brestois 29.

France - with enough talent in their ranks to field at least four different teams that England couldn't beat - have unearthed another gem in the defensive midfielder, who is closing in on a move to Southampton this summer...if we can still even call it that.

The Saints, who allowed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to leave for Tottenham this window, have been on the lookout for a replacement in that department and appear to have landed their man for a fee in the region of £13m.

Who is he, though? Not a household name on these shores, it's best we take a look at who will be gracing the Premier League for the coming season and beyond.

He's Already Got His World Class Comparison - N'Golo Kante

Yes, as usual with all up and coming talents, Diallo has gone and earned himself a comparison from the more well-known field of the game.

Considering he's a defensive midfielder, and French, a natural likeness has been made to Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

There is also the fact that he isn't very tall. Standing at under 5'9, his stature in the centre of the park has also brought about his links to the World Cup winner.

Diallo Only Made His Professional Debut in 2018

What's this, another Kante comparison? Above all, this one is perhaps the most legitimate.

Just like his fellow countryman, Diallo didn't make his senior debut until later in his career, as recently in 2018. Granted, he was just 18, but these days that's pretty late, right?

His first professional bow came with current club Brest, in a Coupe de la Ligue penalty shootout victory over Sochaux two summers ago.

His Journey to Stardom Hasn't Been a Walk in the Park

Part of the reason the midfielder didn't start earning his stripes in Ligue 1 until recently was a less than ideal career path. Playing amateur level with local side Chambray-Les-Tours for seven years, he eventually got scouted by Monaco's youth sides when he was 15.

While the move south initially looked promising, Diallo never made it past the reserve sides, leaving for Brest on loan in 2018 without a senior appearance to his name.

It's at Brest where he has since excelled, battling his way into the first team at the latter end of last season and since becoming a regular fixture in the heart of midfield. In the 2020/21 campaign, he's started each of the club's five Ligue 1 matches so far.

Brotherly Brilliance

Does his name - and face - seem familiar at all? To save you scratching your head at where you might have seen him before, we'll save you the trouble.

Diallo's brother, Abdou, has been involved in European football for a few years now. Playing alongside his younger brother at Monaco, he made the move to Bundesliga side Mainz in 2017. Just one season with the club prompted Borussia Dortmund to take note, prizing the central defender away for a hefty fee of €28m.

Another glittering season in Germany saw him move clubs again the following summer, with French champions Paris Saint-Germain forking out €34m to bring him back to his homeland.

Southampton Weren't the Only Premier League Side Interested

Where to start? The likes of Leicester, Everton and Arsenal have all been linked with Diallo this year, the Foxes having seen a bid rejected by Brest back in January.

Outside of these shores, Sevilla have been mentioned, with fellow French outfit Nice also being registered with an interest.

However, it's Ralph Hasenhuttl's side who are set to win the race, with Diallo set to swap the western coast or France for the southern coast of England.

A Senior France Call-Up Appears Inevitable

We'd rather not jinx it, but it does seem like when, rather than if, for Diallo to earn his first senior call-up for Les Bleus.

A regular feature from the Under-18's up to the Under-21's, his first outing for the latter came in 2020, one year on from some impressive displays for France in the Under-20 World Cup.

Of course, he does have a wealth of competition to navigate his way past before he reaches that level. Yet, given the nature of France's ability to churn out brilliant talent after brilliant talent, you'd put your money on him doing so soon enough.

Source : 90min