6 May 2016

CIES: 'Spectacular' £75k-a-week Liverpool powerhouse is now one of 'best' in Europe

Prior to his suspension, 'spectacular' Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho was enjoying a breakout season at Liverpool, and his impressive partnership with Dejan Lovren held immense promise for the future. After failing a drugs test, Sakho's Anfield career is in tatters right now, but new data suggests that the France International's performances this year have propelled him into the top echelon of European centre-halves.

Earlier this week, the CIES Football Observatory published its list of Europe's best central defenders, and the top ten is as follows (in ascending order):

* Mats Hummels (BVB)

* Thiago Silva (PSG)

* Nicolas Otamendi (Man City)

* David Alaba (B. Munich)

* Facundo Roncaglia (Fiorentina)

* Diego Godin (Atletico)

* Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

* David Luiz (PSG)

* Samuel Umtiti (Lyon)

* Mamadou Sakho^ (Liverpool)

CIES' rationale for the rankings:

"The analysis is based on statistics in six areas of the game [but] Two key performances indicators are crucial: rigor and recover. The former defines ability to minimize opponents’ chances through robust dueling. The latter highlights proficient interception work".

Sakho has basically sabotaged his career at the worst possible time, but according to French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet, he still has a chance of being selected for Euro 2016. When asked on Thursday if Sakho will miss the tournament, he told reporters:

"It's not yet certain. We have to let the decision of UEFA be taken. At the moment, he can't be selected [but] Didier is naming his squad on the 12th, so we'll have to wait for UEFA's decision".

As for CIES' top ten list: After massively improved performances this season, Dejan Lovren must surely be working his way towards the top ten...?

^ Reportedly on £75k-a-week

Author: Jaimie K


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