PROFILE | Leny Yoro – France’s next elite centre-back

Leny Yoro (18) has enjoyed a stratospheric rise with LOSC Lille this year, to the point that the teenager has become one of the most sought-after young centrebacks in the world, rumoured to be on the shortlists of the biggest of football clubs, such as PSG, Manchester City and FC Bayern Munich.

Having come through the youth ranks at Lille, the teenage sensation started to get regular playtime last season, though this season he has entered a new dimension, becoming an undisputed starter in Paulo Fonseca’s side and even getting his first call-up to the France under-21s side. Playing as a right-sided centre-back, Yoro has particularly shined thanks to his notable comfort when on the ball, carrying elegantly before picking out his partners with high accuracy. He also demonstrated his ability to be a threat on offensive set-pieces, having already scored two goals this season. Quick to cover space and intelligent in his reading of the game, Leny shows his qualities further when defending depth behind the defence, not often getting caught out by through balls.

As a tall but rather slight defender, the 18-year-old now has to progress on the physical aspect of his game. At times, he is too easily muscled out of aerial duels, which could be exposed during high-intensity games. Something that shouldn’t be an issue according to his Portuguese coach, who highlighted his willingness to learn and improve: “He’s is always focused, listening and wanting to learn and remaining positive even when criticised. When you react like that, only good things can come.

Yoro to garner world-record fee?

Yoro has emerged amongst an exciting crop of 2005-born France talents, which includes the likes of Bayern’s Mathys Tel (18), Monaco’s Eliesse Ben Seghir (18), Rennes’ Désiré Doué (18) and Toulouse’s Guillaume Restes (18), though the centre-back could be the first to make the big plunge into the France national team, as he’ll be looking to make Didier Deschamps’ list for this summer’s Euros.

In order to continue his meteoric rise, the youngster will most likely be looking to make a move to a bigger club next summer, one that is regularly competing in the Champions League. The clubs looking to sign him will however have to deal with the Lille board’s enormous asking price, as they have reportedly demanded no less than €90 million in order to let go of their gem, which would make him the joint most expensive centre-back in history, equalling Josko Gvardiol’s transfer fee when he moved from RB Leipzig to Manchester City last summer.

GFFN | Alfred Lalande


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