“He reminds me of Toni Kroos” – Who is Manchester City’s €40 million target Denis Zakaria?

Recently, it was reported that Manchester City are preparing an offer of around €40 million for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria, according to Christian Falk from Sport BILD.

The midfielder moved to Germany from Swiss side BSC Young Boys in 2017. Since then, he has established himself as one of the best central midfielders in the Bundesliga – scoring eight goals and providing six assists in 96 appearances.

However, not many City fans will be familiar with the Bundesliga midfielder. Thankfully, the official Bundesliga website recently compiled a profile of Zakaria.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

This was, presumably, in response to the reports linking him to City. So, what does it tell us?

Zakaria (23), is a Swiss international, but he was also eligible to play for the national sides of African nations Sudan and Congo through his parent’s nationality.

In his first four Bundesliga appearances, Zakaria registered a 100% passing accuracy in each match – a stat that tells you all you need to know about his competency in possession, and why Pep Guardiola may be an admirer of the midfielder.

Last season, after nine games, ‘Gladbach were top of the league. At that point, Zakaria was leading the Bundesliga stats for distance covered, and was second in the team when it came to passing accuracy and duels won.

Clearly, Zakaria is a midfielder blessed with ability to influence the game at both ends of the pitch – a factor that is recognised in several flattering quotes about him.

‘Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer said, “It’s not easy to compare [Zakaria] to the greats of the past, but he combines many qualities that were really defined by Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.”

(Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Germany legend Lothar Matthaüs, meanwhile, also made an interesting comparison.

“I’m glad that Gladbach have found another pearl. At his age I was earning my first stripes for Borussia. He reminds me of Toni Kroos at that age”, he said.

Zakaria himself has spoken on the comparisons to other players.

“I’ve been compared to [Patrick] Vieira and [Paul] Pogba – two more players I really respect and, in a way, see as role models. When I watch videos of them I think I’d like to play that way,” Zakaria has been quoted as saying.

Finally, the Bundesliga profile offers its own view: “Strong, full of running, great in the tackle and a fine passer, Zakaria is quickly developing into a fine all-round midfielder in the same mould as former Arsenal and France midfielder Vieira.”

(Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

So, that should hopefully have given you some insight into why City have been linked with the Bundesliga star, and may help to generate some excitement should the rumours continue to circulate.


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