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HomeSportsFootballLeny Yoro: The 17-year-old Lille prodigy pursued by Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester...

Leny Yoro: The 17-year-old Lille prodigy pursued by Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United.

Leny Yoro, who celebrated his 17th birthday last November, has already made his debut for Lille and even scored a goal in their Conference League playoffs against Rijeka. Standing at over 190 cm tall, Leny’s early growth spurt has undoubtedly accelerated his career. What makes him stand out is his ability to execute rapid bursts and maintain a sense of calm on the ball, making him appear entirely comfortable at this level.

Evaluating Leny’s Biomechanics:

How his physical traits define his game

Vid 1: A snippet of Leny’s game (

What enables Leny to function so well is his ability to use his longer legs to generate longer strides, which enables him to almost function efficiently in reactive and proactive situations. For example – in the video above, there are situations where playing as a wide CB or even a defensive RB, he’s able to recover against wingers who try to pace bursts by positioning himself to force wingers outside and stretch his legs to win the ball with a longer separation (meaning when he wins the ball, wingers for example are farther away to press from behind).

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But what would more obviously make his talent standout is his natural ability on the ball. In the clip above, there are multiple examples where he scans and manipulates the ball under pressure very well, and even after a player barged (at 0:30), he was able to stand firm, showing some brilliant upper-body strength.

Pic 1 Leny Yoros full first team season in 2223

During his 2022/23 season, Leny Yoro saw a lot of minutes as LCB and eventually showed like we saw in the clip above that he’s capable to play at either side in a back 4 or using his speed can function as a wide CB or a center CB with the frame he has. This effectively what makes Leny a highly sort commodity in the CB market today, and if you add the fantasy that he could play well as a support holding midfielder (something similar to a John Stones role in the Manchester City side of 22/23), it makes most PL clubs rub their hands in glee to secure his services.

The action flow map in Pic 1 emphasizes most points made above. Able to drift wide in anticipation to win duels, yet able to lead a backline with some impressive box defending.

A Data Based Evaluation of Leny Yoro:

How numbers back up the talent our eyes described

Pic 2 Recoveries vs Progressive actions in T5 Leagues amongst U23 CBs

Leny Yoro’s slowly but gradually standing out amongst the best talents in Europe that are closer to his age group. Despite being 17, his numbers better as a progressor (adjusted for possession) than likes of Van de ven, Lukeba, Botman who are all playing at the best clubs across Europe, showing that on the ball Yoro”s potential is one to track. As recoveries go, he’s been able to better his countryman Mohamed Simakan and with more and more games that Yoro will play, the expectation is we see him rise to the upper level in the graph above, showing his games in both dimensions, on and off the ball.

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Pic 3 Yoros seasons compared from 2223 to 2324

Any player’s growth could be best described from their own improvement as a player across seasons and Leny, playing as a 16-year-old prospect with Lille 1st team and now 17 already treated as a highly important member of Lille team represents his talent best. When adjusted for Possession, Yoro wins more tackles than last season, improved aspects on the ball more.

Though he could be compared to other CB’s who are under 23 or 21, it wouldn’t yet do justice to the 17-year-old Leny Yoro who for all those glowing points mentioned has tons of points where he can improve, which brings us to the final section where we discuss the same.


What Can Leny Yoro Improve as a defender and his future

No player is flawless, and this would apply to Leny Yoro as well. Leny’s defensive game especially in higher-level games is something that will only improve with experience and it’s something that still eludes the eventual France call-up. As a defender, being too proactive to win challenges like Leny does can also be used against him when teams could bait to draw him out to lay off as teams with stronger target men could use this against him ( the situations we saw in Vid 1 against say a striker of Lukaku’s strength could be used against him).

As of Now Leny’s career is experiencing the right career growth, a linear path where he sees minutes increase alongside his talent, and this of course entails interest from clubs. Personally, a path similar to Saliba from Arsenal, where he develops his game at France to eventually be ready at Premier League level is desirable, something any team that tries to make him theirs can try to get the best out of him.

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