One of the latest revelations to emerge from Ligue 1 this season, Habib Diarra helped Strasbourg stay in the top flight.
Habib Diallo may have had an exceptional season with Racing, scoring 20 Ligue 1 goals, but his compatriot Habib Diarra is also making waves. His rise to prominence in the first team even enabled Strasbourg to hold on with one match to go in a season that saw four relegations.
In the second half of the season, the Franco-Senegalese player made his contribution to the team, whether through his 3 goals and 2 assists or his versatility. As a defensive midfielder, holding midfielder, attacking midfielder or winger, Habib Diarra has done well in all these positions this season. Not surprising, perhaps, for a youngster whose role models include Paul Pogba and Ngolo Kanté, certainly as a midfielder. "I see myself in him. He's a player you see everywhere in midfield," he says of Kanté in the columns of Onze Mondial.
Habib Diarra, the future Ngolo Kanté?
The Strasbourg midfielder is often compared to the French international from Leicester, no doubt because of his strength and his volume of running in the heart of the game. However, the man who describes himself as a "box-to-box midfielder" played as a striker when he was very young at FC Mulhouse before joining Strasbourg's training centre. It was from there, at U17 level, that Habib Diarra moved backwards and became a midfielder.
However, he still retained his attacking qualities in terms of ball control and percussion. That's what makes his position in midfield even more beneficial to his team when it comes to provoking and destabilising opposing defences. Capable of withstanding duels and picking up a lot of balls, the 19-year-old also impresses with his athleticism.
At 19, Habib Diarra has become the youngest Strasbourg player to make 30 professional appearances since Christophe Niesser in 1985. After signing a new contract last summer that runs until 2027, the Alsatian club could be in for a treat in the months or years to come, as the prodigy is being courted in France and across Europe.
— wiwsport (@wiwsport) May 21, 2023
Born in Guédiawaye, a suburb of Dakar, Diarra currently plays for the French Under-19 team. He is the son of former Senegalese international Samba Diarra. But he does not yet seem to have decided to follow in his father's footsteps.
The question was put to him. It remains to be seen whether his position has changed in the meantime...