7.2 C
6.2 C
Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Report: Man United scouting Mainoo-like midfielder who ‘combines’ Kante and Pogba

- Advertisement -

Manchester United are reportedly looking at the Belgian market for a new midfielder with the Premier League giants sending scouts to watch Royal Antwerp midfielder Mandela Keita. 

The Red Devils regularly kept an eye on Royal Antwerp during the first half of this season. Arthur Vermeeren, the teenager who helped end the club’s 66-year wait for a top-flight title, certainly had his fair share of admirers at Old Trafford before sealing that January move to Atletico Madrid. 

But, while running the rule over Vermeeren, it appears that one of the 18-year-old’s Royal Antwerp team-mates also caught the eye of a Manchester United side who may look to move on the likes of Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Sofyan Amrabat this summer. 

Mandela Keita is not quite as glamorous or as obscenely talented as Vermeeren. What the 21-year-old is, however, is the prototype of the typical, modern-day deep-lying midfielder. While Vermeeren excels in the final third with his creativity and vision, Keita tended to do much of the dirty work in behind. 

Manchester United eye Mandela Keita

Royal Antwerp FC v KV Mechelen - Jupiler Pro League

Photo by Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images

An average of 2.4 tackles per game and 1.7 interceptions places him among some of the best ball-winners in Belgium (WhoScored). That is not to say Keita is simply an ankle-rattling hatchet man, however.

Likening his game to that of N’Golo Kante as well as Paul Pogba, the 21-year-old can dictate as well as destroy. There are obvious similarities with Kobbie Mainoo, the teenager who has made such an impact at United with his remarkably well-rounded still-set.

“The fact that I try to combine the two (Kante and Pogba) makes me quite unique, I think,” Keita said a few years back. 


Het Nieuwsblad report that, in addition to Manchester United, there is also interest from West Ham and Nottingham Forest. Both clubs reportedly made contact with Keita’s agent during the January transfer window. 

A mix of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante

A calm and considered passer of the ball, Keita has completed nearly 90 per cent of his attempted passes in 2023/24.

Capped by the Belgian national team for the first time a few months ago, Keita is also technically an OH Leuven player. He has been on loan at Antwerp for the last 14 months, however. Antwerp may still sign Keita permanently for around £7 million, a clause they are likely to trigger even if it means they can sell on the midfielder for an immediate profit. 

“I just try to keep my feet on the ground, work hard and get better every day,” Keita tells RTBF. “I have a clear career plan in my head and I want to make my dreams come true; playing for the biggest clubs and winning trophies.” 

United are also being linked with Keita’s compatriot, Amadou Onana of Everton.

Related Topics

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Latest Articles