Adama Diakhaby Shows Both Rawness and Immense Potential for Monaco

diakAdama Diakhaby looked to be going places late last season, and at that point in time, he most certainly was. He finished up his first campaign with Rennes with a brilliant double against AS Monaco, the highlight of which was was a sharp turn of pace, after receiving a long diagonal, to breeze beyond Monaco’s highly-rated star Fabinho to score. Sure, it wasn’t the cleanest finish, as he needed a second attempt following an initial save from Monaco goalkeeper Loic Badiashile, but that didn’t matter back then. The fact that he had scored twice on the final day of the season, against the newly-crowned league champions, highlighted his ability. The kid was on the rise, and Monaco themselves confirmed that not long afterwards.

Indeed, and perhaps on the back of that performance, they snapped him up for a fee believed to be in the region of £9 million. He was one of the new breed brought into replace the loss of stars such as Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, just as he was one of the guys tasked with replacing Ousmane Dembele at Rennes. Now, after making the move, he was a genuine up-and-comer at one of France’s biggest clubs. That, however, comes with pressure, and in the early stages of his times in the principality, he has struggled to deliver.

He is, of course, just 21-years-old, so he’s certainly still a prodigious talent with plenty of time to prove himself, but with only 1 goal so far in Ligue 1, his first campaign isn’t exactly going to plan. To make matters worse, he was handed a number of opportunities to start in the early going, largely due to absences in the squad, and he didn’t really make the most of them. The pace and power wasn’t enough for the young attacker, who tends to divide his time between the left wing and centre-forward, to thrive, and though he showed glimpses, he wasn’t able to cement a place in the side.

In Monaco’s most recent Coupe de la Ligue match, though, Diakhaby produced a timely reminder of his abilities. He still showed some of the rawness that has at times been problematic for him, but he also showcased so much of what makes him a special talent. His goal was a wonderful example of this, as he eased in from the left-hand side to provide an option in the area. What followed was a fairly substandard cross from Balde Keita, but Diakhaby’s brilliance ensured the Spaniard registered an assist anyway. The gangly Diakhaby accelerated ahead of his marker, Nice right-back Patrick Burner, and hit the back of the net with a lovely sliding finish. It came from his right foot, and when the ball found its target, the youngster sprinted over to the corner flag, all the way over on the far side of the field, to celebrate.

His enthusiasm indicated the importance of the strike, especially given that he has only played 10 minutes in Monaco’s last three league matches. It might afford him a way back into the plans of Leonardo Jardim, and judging by the Monaco manager’s response to the goal, he enjoyed it just as much as Diakhaby. Of course, it was important in and of itself, given that it allowed Monaco to defeat Nice 2-1, but it also showcased the speed, acceleration and finishing quality attached to the youngster’s game.

Throw in the fact that he won a couple of impressive headers out wide, something that would perhaps be expected of him given his height advantage over Burner, and it’s easy to see why Monaco were so eager to snap up Diakhaby. He played out wide this time, but with that 184cm frame of his, there’s no reason why he can’t eventually be an incredibly imposing centre-forward. Of course, he needs to tidy a few things up – most notably his ball control in tight spaces – but the ingredients are there. His speed and power are high-grade attributes, and his long legs allow him to swallow up the ground in front of him. In fact, this mix of qualities helped him to make a couple of tidy interceptions in the middle of the field for Monaco, but after sprinting forward from there, he selected poor passes to halt those respective counter-attacks.

Even so, it wasn’t hard to see what Monaco saw in him. From his sheer athletic capacity to his tidy finishing and even the odd nutmeg, Diakhaby is a really impressive prospect. He has height on his side as well, versatility in the final third and a group of young players around him who are also aiming to take their games to another level.

Add in the fact that Monaco have one of the best records in Europe when it comes to developing young players, and there’s no reason why Diakhaby can’t be another of those guys. The quality is there and, after a good performance against Nice, a little bit of confidence should have restored itself as well. Whether or not he ends up as another Kylian Mbappe or Silva remains to be seen, but regardless of that, Monaco will back themselves to turn him into a high-end contributor to their first-team endeavours.