A dismal season could lead to a disastrous summer transfer window for Borussia Mönchengladbach with Marcus Thuram and Ramy Bensebaini already out the door as free transfers. However, with influential midfielder Manu Koné set to leave as well, how Gladbach are able to replace their key figure in the middle of the park will be pivotal.
Last season, a dull Gladbach side floundered in the middle of the Bundesliga table despite their ball-dominant approach matching the league’s top three of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig. Only those three sides completed more passes and kept more possession than the Foals in the Bundesliga.
However, with Gladbach touching the ball 2,865 fewer times than Bayern in the final third, a staggering difference can be made in how Gladbach failed to progress the ball further up the pitch. Nevertheless, if it was not for the phenomenal Koné single-handedly guiding the side into the final third, Die Fohlen would have been far worse off.
As per FBRef, Koné was able to progress the ball into the final third 58 times more than any other Gladbach player. This is all while winning the ball back significantly more than any of his colleagues too.
The 22-year-old was able to combine his ball-winning ability with pass progression that was unmatched by any of his teammates. While Gladbach struggled to find a way forward with a lack of direction and intensity, Koné was the guiding light of excellence. Forcing the hand of his side and displaying a sense of creation; any elite European side would be fortunate to have such a player on their books.
GGFN | Will Shopland