ONE TO WATCH: Benoît Badiashile | OneFootball

ONE TO WATCH: Benoît Badiashile

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Imposing centre-back Benoît Badiashile has played over 100 times for AS Monaco before reaching the age of 21. Ligue1.com runs the rule over the defender who is on the shopping list of several English Premier League clubs.

Monaco have a proud tradition of bringing through young talent. Once upon a time it was Thierry Henry, while more recently Kylian Mbappé burst onto the scene in the principality, starring in the team that won the Ligue 1 title in 2017 before being sold to Paris Saint-Germain.

Badiashile is the leading name among the current crop of youngsters at the Stade Louis II but now the question is how long Monaco will hold on to a player who is under contract until 2024 yet is also the subject of firm interest from England. Newcastle United have been linked with a firm €40 million offer in the January window.

Back story:

Benoît Badiashile was born on March 26, 2001 in the city of Limoges in central France but moved with his family at the age of eight to near the city of Orléans. His brother Loïc, who is three years his senior, joined Monaco in 2013, while Benoît was on the books at Châteauroux but eventually headed to the principality himself in 2016.

He was just 16 when he signed his first professional contract with Monaco in 2018, despite being linked with the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United. It was Henry who gave the young defender his first-team debut in a 4-0 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in November 2018 when he was still just 17.

It was a turbulent period for Monaco but Badiashile played 26 top-team games that season and 20 times in the following campaign. Last season he was a pillar in Niko Kovac’s team that finished third in Ligue 1, while in this campaign his progress has only been slowed in the last two months by injury. He is secured to a long-term contract until 2024, ensuring that Monaco can command a big transfer fee if they do indeed sell him on. Meanwhile, his brother Loïc was released by the principality club last summer after spending the season on loan at Las Rozas in the Spanish lower leagues.

Style of play:

Standing 1.94m tall, the left-footed Badiashile is an imposing presence in central defence. He is strong, quick and reads the game well. He has an assured touch on the ball and can offer a threat in the opposition box at set-pieces too – he scored twice in Ligue 1 last season although he is yet to find the net in this campaign. Badiashile has cited Barcelona’s French international Samuel Umtiti as his favourite player.

Current campaign:

After only missing three league games in the whole of last season under Kovac, Badiashile was a fixture in the heart of the Monaco defence at the beginning of this campaign. However, he has only played in two of his club’s last 10 games going back to the end of November, mainly due to a hamstring injury. In that time he has seen Kovac depart and a new coach arrive in Philippe Clément.  He has played fewer minutes this season than fellow centre-backs Axel Disasi and Guillermo Maripan.

It has been reported that English Premier League strugglers Newcastle United made a concrete bid earlier this month, despite Badiashile being on the sidelines. Wolverhampton Wanderers have also been linked.

What you may not know:

Badiashile has revealed that he is the second-youngest of eight children, with his brother Loïc and six sisters.

International career:

Badiashile, who has Congolese roots, has played for France at different age-group categories all the way up to the Under-21 side, for whom he has been capped 12 times. His debut came against Azerbaijan aged 19 in September 2020 and he was part of coach Sylvain Ripoll’s squad at last year’s Under-21 European Championship.

Watch: Badiashile scoring for Monaco last season

What he said:

“When we were still at the academy, we would watch him play every weekend. We all wanted to use him as an example. We spoke about him often. Sometimes he would come to the academy and talk to us. He is a really nice guy.”

Speaking to Onze Mondial about Kylian Mbappé

“I learnt so much from Thierry Henry. He helped me progress on and off the field. He gave me a lot of advice about my positioning, for example. He explained to me how to deal with an attacking player. He was a great striker so he knew what he was talking about.”

On Thierry Henry, who gave him his debut at Monaco

“I think staying with my first club was the best decision I could have taken.”

Speaking last season about his decision to turn down the opportunity to leave the principality and move abroad

What they said:

“Benoît is calm under pressure. He has a good left foot. He knows how to play the first pass to quickly start an attack. He can still progress in lots of areas but that is normal for a young player.”

France Under-21 coach Sylvain Ripoll speaking last year

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