Boubacar Kamara is one of the hottest prospects in European football.
Having established himself as a starter for French giants Marseille during the 2018/19 season at the age of just 18, he’s held his own since and has amassed 90 Ligue 1 appearances over the past three campaigns.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that some of Europe’s top clubs have been linked with the France Under-21 international in recent months.
Newcastle, however, are not one of Europe’s elite sides. And, although they are in need of a defensive midfielder ahead of the 2021/22 season, a move to the Magpies is the last thing Kamara should be considering right now.
The now 21-year old is a typical midfield enforcer built for progressive and attacking sides. Yeah, that’s right – that doesn’t sound very much like Steve Bruce’s Newcastle.
Throughout the 2020/21 Premier League season, Newcastle registered a total of 5,423 attempted pressures as a squad. Although this ranked ninth in the division, combined with the fact that their average of 38.2% possession in matches ranked 19th demonstrates just how deep-lying and counterattack-based Newcastle are under Bruce.
For comparison, Kamara’s 533 attempted pressures ranked 26th in the whole of Ligue 1, proving his worth as an aggressive and progressive holding midfielder. The 21-year-old registered more than any Newcastle player did in the Premier League, while his 34.9% success rate ranked eighth among midfielders in France’s top flight and higher than all of the Magpies’ outfield players last term.
The youngster is always quick to get out to his man, looking to put a foot in and break opposition momentum to recycle the ball as quickly and efficiently as possible to get his side on the front foot. While Kamara’s class would likely present itself in glimpses, soaking up pressure and simply remaining firm from waves of attack is not his game – and it shouldn’t ever be.
Kamara’s development at Marseille has unsurprisingly attracted a lot of admirers. He’s proven his worth in thriving within a forward-focused side, ready to make up ground to break down opposition moves and set the ball rolling in quick time.
With a knack for coming out on top in one-v-one defensive situations and a passing ability that can break through opposition lines and press, his very exciting talents would be wasted in the rigid and protective Newcastle system.
If he were to depart Marseille this summer – as has been rumoured – Kamara should look for a club that can facilitate his development into an elite defensive presence at the base of a midfield in an attack-minded team.
You would have to fear for Kamara’s progression at St. James’ Park. There isn’t much room for expression in Bruce’s side and, while Kamara would likely get plenty of game time, his career could be stifled by a misjudged spell in the north east.