Boubakary Soumare: The Ligue 1 midfielder with a big future

It’s rare to see a player linked to numerous top clubs without seeing a hike in their price on Football Index. That doesn’t mean it’s good practice to invest without knowing who you’re buying into. Here we answer the question who is Boubakary Soumare?

Establishing roots in the game

Soumare was born in February 1999 to Senegalese parents and was raised in a low key environment in Noisy-le-Sec, a quiet and unspectacular area of Paris. He was a reserved character but he came alive with a football at his feet. In 2006 he joined the youth setup at Paris FC.

After five years of standing out amongst his peers, PSG offered Soumare – now 12 years old – a trial and subsequently brought him in to their prestigious academy. He went from strength to strength in his development and managed to break into the French under 16 and under 17 teams.

Turning his back on PSG

At just 17, Soumare took the brave decision to move away from Paris where he’d spent his entire life. The PSG ranks were full of world class talents at their peak. A senior breakthrough – especially one that would yield regular football – seemed a long way off. Even so, to turn down professional terms with the French giants was a monumental call.

Soumare walked away from PSG and made the 140 mile trip north to sign a five year deal with Lille. He immediately slotted into the first team squad but had to bide his time for his debut. 10 league games passed with Soumare either in the stands or confined to the bench but he did make 14 Ligue 1 appearances in his first season. Something that wouldn’t have happened in Paris.

The following campaign looked set to be a similar story – although it’s important to remember Soumare was still only 19 at this point – but five consecutive 90 minute performances, one of which was a 5-1 hammering of PSG, in the last six matches of the season – the final game being missed due to a French under 21 call – put Soumare firmly in the hearts of Lille fans and 2019/20 got underway with him in the starting XI.

A style that fits anywhere

Soumare’s displays over the first half of this season saw clubs from around Europe express an interest in him. Newcastle United were apparently willing to break their club record fee to bring him to England in January but Soumare rejected that deal to finish the season with Lille. The star players rarely stay in France for too long though – with a couple of obvious exceptions plying their trade in Paris – and it’s clear to see that Soumare will soon be on his way elsewhere.

He exudes calmness on the pitch and has a high level of technical ability but has strength and a driving force as that drags his team up the field from his position in front of the back four as well. He’s been likened to Paul Pogba – which is a bigger compliment when given in France – but his head, unlike his compatriots, is focussed purely on the football. If he can develop his reading of defensive situations then he has the potential to be a world beater.

But who for?

Newcastle want to have a second try at luring Soumare to the North East of England. That looks increasingly less likely with each passing day with Liverpool and Manchester United emerging as competition for his signature in the UK whilst Zinedine Zidane is a big fan with the potential to pull him to Spain.

The one thing that’s a fairly safe bet is that another year at Lille is unlikely. We suspect full international caps will be heading Soumare’s way soon too. If any of that happens, you’ll see a hike in his price of £1.85.

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