Union Berlin's Aïssa Laïdouni is expected to partner Eintracht Frankfurt's Ellyes Skhiri in the centre of the Tunisia midfield at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the no-nonsense general...
Stats correct as of 31 December 2023
Age: 27 (born 13 December 1996)
Club: Union Berlin
Position: Central midfielder
Country: Tunisia (38 caps)
Laïdouni joined Union in January 2023, on the back of some impressive displays for Tunisia at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 6'0" midfielder started all three of his country's group games, including the 1-0 win over then defending world champions France. Signing a deal through to summer 2027, he went on to play in 14 of 18 Bundesliga matches during the second half of 2022/23, debuting against Mainz on 4 February, before scoring back-to-back goals in May as Die Eisernen qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
Laïdouni has been a regular in the Union midfield ever since, only missing two of their 24 competitive games prior to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. He's among his team's top five for intensive runs, seventh for challenges won and 10th for sprints per game, highlighting why he was named Tunisia's Footballer of the Year as recently as 2022. Pre-Bundesliga, the Union No.20 won two successive Hungarian league titles with Ferencváros. A Tunisia international since March 2021, he also played in France for Angers - where he made his top-flight debut - and Chambly Oise.
Plays a bit like: Sami Khedira
Comfortable operating as a No.6 or 8, Laïdouni is relentless when it comes to closing down opposition players and passing from one box to another, in a style reminisicent of 2014 World Cup winner Sami Khedira, who also has Tunisian roots.
Did you know?
While Khedira was born in Germany to a Tunisian father and German mother, Laïdouni was raised by a Tunisian mother and Algerian father in France. The Union man's younger brother, Naïm, is also a professional footballer with Umm Salal of the Qatar Stars League, but opted to represent Algeria at youth international level.
What they're saying
"Aïssa's qualities have been known to us for a while. His box-to-box play, intensity and understanding will help elevate our game." - Union CEO Oliver Ruhnert upon Laïdouni's move to Union
"Laidouni is brilliant to watch for Tunisia. Constantly getting the fans going and every tackle he makes he celebrates like a last minute winner." - former player, now pundit, Danny Higginbotham
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