The good and the bad of Moussa Djenepo clear to see in Mali display – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets… 

Hopes will be high that Southampton new boy Moussa Djenepo can hit the ground running in the 2019/20 campaign following his move from Standard Liege earlier this month.

The deal, which could rise to £15m, represented Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first signing since he arrived at St Mary’s in December, and is a clear indication of what he wants from his front players in the upcoming season.

The Austrian has admitted previously that he was keen to add pace to his attack in order to effectively play his preferred high-pressing style, and the African has that in abundance – as well as some decent finishing ability given he scored 11 goals in 39 appearances for the Belgian side last term.

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Saints supporters had their first opportunity to catch a glimpse of Djenepo in action when he started for Mali in their opening 2019 African Cup of Nations group game against Mauritania on Monday evening.

The 21-year-old started on the left wing for his country as they ran out comfortable 4-1 winners, playing the first hour before being replaced by Moussa Doumbia.

Southampton’s new man Moussa Djenepo divides opinion amongst fans in the video below…

It’s fair to say that while recent Southampton addition showed some of his strengths, there were also some worrying traits on display as well.

But let’s start with the positives.

He pressed from the front and showed the pace and the work rate that he has – something that will imperative if he is to be a success in a Hasenhuttl team given the need to track back and help your teammates defensively.

He used the ball well with a passing accuracy of 90%, as per WhoScored, while he successfully completed one dribble and saw his solitary shot at goal in the game hit the target – only to be saved by the goalkeeper.

Moussa Djenepo stats Mali vs Mauritania - The good and the bad of Moussa Djenepo clear to see in Mali display - opinion

In short, he was a threat, but there is one side of Djenepo’s game that needs to be improved when he arrives in the Premier League.

11 bookings and one red card in those 39 outings for Liege last season would surely have been slightly concerning, but you can now see why the tally is so high.

The 21-year-old was guilty of two rash challenges – one of which he was rightly booked for – against Mauritania, and he was arguably lucky to stay on the field following the second.

Three fouls committed in total in an hour on the pitch already gives Hasenhuttl something to work with him on, as the Malian wide man needs to understand that he won’t be able to get away with that type of ill-discipline in the Premier League.

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