M’Baye Niang & What He Could Offer The Potters

Reports surfacing from Italy have linked Stoke with a move for AC Milan forward M’baye Niang. The French under-21 international, who was subject of an unsuccessful £12 million bid from Leicester in January, has appeared 17 times for Milan this season but is currently out through injury. Rumours suggest that The Potters are monitoring his situation as Milan could be looking to sell him come the Summer, but may face competition from Borussia Dortmund.

The 21-year-old can play as either a striker or wide midfielder. He came through the youth team at Caen, and earned himself trials at Arsenal and Tottenham before choosing to sign for the red side of Milan back in 2012. A goal in his debut made him the second youngest goal scorer in Milan history. He has since had two loan spells away from the Italian club.

Standing at 6’1, Niang has a reasonable bit of physical presence for someone who is regarded as pacey and agile. This combination has proven to be effective in the Premier League which is seen as both tough and high-tempo.

Whilst on loan at Montpellier Niang scored five goals and got two assists in a total of 22 games. More impressively during his loan spell at Genoa, he scored five times in 14 appearances, managing three assists, before having his loan cut short through injury. For AC Milan this season, he has scored five times (he absolutely loves that number five doesn’t he) in 14 league appearances, and three times in four cup matches. Its worth considering the fact that he does periodically drop onto the wing and isn’t always sent out specifically to find the net.

In comparison to our current out and out strikers so far this season, Joselu and Diouf have only managed 4 goals each in 24 and 27 appearances respectively. This means Niang has scored the same amount of goals as these two players combined in just 17 appearances.

It wouldn’t be fair to overlook Arnautovic who is our top scorer in the 2015/16 campaign. He has scored 11 goals from 35 appearances from a wider position, similar to Niang, and at the time only cost us £2 million. Milan will probably be looking for upwards of £12 million for the French national, is this good value and would he add something useful to our squad?

As always, here’s a YouTube compilation of his best bits with some awful music:

Written by Thomas Hammersley

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