Southampton: Ibrahima Diallo is as close to Pierre Hojbjerg club's money could buy

Ibrahima Diallo

Ralph Hassenhuttl recently praised summer signing Ibrahima Diallo for his attitude when speaking to the Daily Echo after a settling in process that's seen him only feature as a substitute in two of their Premier League games. 

A £13.6m addition from Ligue 1 side Brest, the 21-year-old's relatively low profile upon his arrival on these shores means many supporters will still be wondering exactly what it is he can offer. 

Diallo, it seems, has been brought in as a direct replacement for Pierre Hojbjerg after the Dane's move to Tottenham Hotspur, having made just over 50% of his 59 career appearances in a central defensive midfield berth. 

Shortly after his arrival, The Athletic wrote of how he was likely to battle Oriol Romeu for a place alongside James Ward-Prowse in the Saints' high-energy midfield, while another article relayed comparisons between Diallo and a certain PSG star Marco Verratti. 

Still, that comparison is obviously drawn on potential and general playing style given the difference in their careers so, we thought we'd run the numbers as to who exactly Diallo mirrors in some key stats in the Premier League. 

Basing the comparisons off his totals for interceptions and ball recoveries in France last season alongside what the players this season are doing on these shores, you can see there are some impressive names below. 

Saints comparison

In terms of raw statistics, Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko is a 100% match thanks to his 3.7 interceptions and 7.65 ball recoveries completed per 90 minutes. 

Crucially, Hojbjerg is of 97% similarity - about as high as you can reasonably expect given the market Saints were shopping in (every other name on that list cost at least £20m) - so the club's knack of making smart signings after turning a profit on sales looks to be continuing after a brief but expensive hiatus.  

The little 'black box' that saw a number of hidden gems arrive on the South Coast during the heady days of Saints' march up the table may have appeared to malfunction when you think of the signings of Wesley Hoedt and Guido Carrillo.

However, in terms of what the team needed this summer after the exit of their captain, perhaps you could say its working again. 

Now, it's up to Diallo. 

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