Manchester United’s pursuit of a center-back continues as the anticipated transfer of Kim Min Jae appears to be slipping away. In their search for a suitable replacement, the club has set its sights on Axel Disasi from AS Monaco. While the French defender possesses many qualities that could benefit Manchester United, concerns remain about his compatibility with the team’s playing style.
Axel Disasi, a product of the Paris FC youth academy, is a talented French professional footballer. He made his professional debut on December 11, 2016, in a 1-0 loss to RC Lens.
Disasi rose to prominence at Reims, securing a regular place in the first team and attracting attention from several top clubs, including Arsenal. Even at a young age, he demonstrated exceptional maturity, showing great proficiency in positioning and ball control. He boasted an impressive 85% accuracy in passing, cementing his reputation as a composed and promising defender. However, he later chose to continue his development at AS Monaco. Although his passing numbers have declined, Disasi’s passes have become more progressive, frequently bypassing the midfield line and creating scoring opportunities.
Let’s delve deeper into Disasi’s strengths and weaknesses to evaluate how he can contribute to the Manchester United squad and whether he is a suitable fit for their playing style.
One of Disasi’s notable assets is his imposing physicality, standing tall at six feet three inches (189cm) with a strong and stocky build. This physique, combined with his ability to excel in ground duels and aerial challenges, makes him a powerful and dominant presence on the pitch. His talent for winning aerial duels, ranking in the 86th percentile [5th in the French League], demonstrates his ability to control the air. Manchester United, traditionally vulnerable in this area, could greatly benefit from Disasi’s aerial prowess, particularly in deeper defensive positions.
Disasi’s assertive and aggressive style of play aligns well with the defensive philosophy desired by Manchester United’s new manager, Eric ten Hag. He proactively intercepts passes and applies pressure on opponents, ranking #6 in pass interceptions in the French League with 222 interceptions last season. This proactive approach disrupts opposition play and creates turnovers. Furthermore, his situational awareness, impeccable positioning, and quick reaction speed make him highly effective in defending within and around the penalty area.
Defending against skillful dribblers in wider positions presents a challenge for Disasi. His agility and turning radius are not exceptional, making it difficult for him to handle opponents who attempt to dribble past him. Players with rapid changes of pace and direction can exploit this weakness, potentially exposing him in one-on-one situations. Furthermore, Disasi’s tackling statistics are relatively poor, with only 0.3 tackles made per 90 minutes, placing him in the bottom 4%.
Another concern for Manchester United fans is Disasi’s pace, which has been exposed on multiple occasions. The club already has a player whose lack of pace has made them the subject of ridicule, raising doubts about whether Disasi is the right fit for a high defensive line at Old Trafford.
Additionally, while Disasi exhibits good technical skills and upper-body strength, his precision and creativity in incisive passing are often lacking. This could pose challenges in a possession-based system like Manchester United’s.
The potential transfer of Axel Disasi to Manchester United is a subject of curiosity. While he excels in ball development and possesses impressive defensive abilities, the concerns regarding his one-on-one defense, tackling statistics, and pace cast doubts on his suitability for playing in a high defensive line at Old Trafford.
It is imperative for Manchester United’s manager, Eric ten Hag, to make a measured decision about Disasi’s potential acquisition. Finding a player who specializes in one-on-one matchups and consistently contributes defensively should be a top priority when playing with a high defensive line, as the team would be susceptible to frequent exposure. While Disasi’s ability to carry the ball and provide offensive contributions is intriguing, his primary role would be defending.
In conclusion, while the transfer is not recommended, should Manchester United proceed with the signing, it will be interesting to see how ten Hag develops Axel Disasi and how he copes with the challenge of being tested frequently.