Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

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We ‘signed’ Dayot Upamecano for Man United to see what might happen

4 min read

With Donny van de Beek becoming Manchester United’s first signing of the summer transfer window, the MEN understands that United are still working on up to three more signings before the transfer window closes, with centre-back transfer options likely to be explored.

In recent days RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, despite recently signing a contract extension at the Bundesliga club, with the 21-year-old showcasing his impressive talent in both the league and the Champions League in the 2019/20 season.

The French defender impressed with his ability in possession in the Champions League latter stages, with his defensive qualities never in doubt. So, what kind of impact could Upamecano have at United if he joined this summer?

We used Football Manager 2020 to try and predict how United might perform next season with Upamecano in the squad after the next transfer window.

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Dayot Upamecano to United in July 2020

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2020 editor to arrange the transfer of Dayot Upamecano to United ahead of the 2020/21 season.

The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs, with data sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people. Among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.

In addition, each annual iteration of Football Manager has built-in algorithms which check for outliers and data discrepancies. Data accuracy is further ensured by input from contributors who are active within the professional game (players, agents etc.) who provide regular feedback.

This is what Dayot Upamecano’s player profile looks like in Football Manager 2020 before the start of the 2020/21 season.

Football Manager 2020 rates the Frenchman as a very impressive young defender, with strong technical, mental and physical attributes.

We then simulated the 2020/21 season to see what kind of impact Dayot Upamecano could have at United.

Dayot Upamecano’s 2020/21 season for United

In our simulated 2020/21 season, Upamecano replaced Victor Lindelof alongside Harry Maguire, with the French defender building a strong partnership in central defence with the United captain.

The 21-year-old started 45 games for United in our simulated campaign, making an additional single substitute appearance, with only Donny van de Beek, Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka playing more games for United throughout the campaign.

Upamecano had a strong campaign, registering more key tackles than any other United player, that is a tackle which prevents a clear chance on goal. In fact, the French defender was among the league’s best for key tackles, with only Virgil van Dijk, Jack O’Connell, Liam Cooper, Toby Alderweireld and Semi Ajayi registering more.

His presence in the United defence led to an improvement in the club’s defensive record from their real-life 2019/20 campaign, in which they only conceded an impressive 36 goals. In our simulated season, United conceded only 32 goals in 38 league games, a record only bettered by Man City and Liverpool.

United’s statistically best eleven over the course of the season, according to Football Manager 2020, with Upamecano as a centre-half alongside Harry Maguire.

United’s statistically best eleven in 2020/21 was as follows: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Upamecano, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Van de Beek; Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood; Martial.

So, how did United perform in all competitions?

United’s performance in 2020/21

In our simulated season, United had a significantly improved points tally, but it didn’t quite turn into a title challenge. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side won 79 points in the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, finishing third in the league table, just seven points behind Liverpool in second.

But, Man City had a record-breaking campaign in our simulation, which made the title fight pretty non-existent. But the Reds did win a piece of major silverware, winning the Carabao Cup in 2020/21, beating Morecambe, Norwich City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Southampton.

But their 2020/21 Champions League campaign wasn’t particularly impressive with the Reds suffering bad luck in the draw, in which they were paired with PSG in the 1st knockout round.

Our simulation suggests that if United sign Dayot Upamecano this summer, the young French defender would be an upgrade on Victor Lindelof, helping the club improve their points tally significantly and win a major trophy.

But FM2020 also suggests that more would be needed for United to challenge Liverpool and Man City for the Premier League title next season.

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