Manu Kone is making waves at Borussia Mönchengladbach - so much so he's already drawing comparisons with Jude Bellingham. bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the up-and-coming French midfielder...
Stats correct as of 9 July 2023
Age: 22 (born 17 May 2001)
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Position: Central midfielder
Country: France (seven U21 caps)
It was a season of mid-table mediocrity for Gladbach in 2022/23, but that didn't stop Kone from coming up smelling of roses. The 6'1" midfielder put in a real shift across his 30 Bundesliga appearances, ranking second only to Jonas Hofmann among his teammates for distance covered but first for challenges won.
A direct hand in three goals - matching his total in 27 games in 2021/22 - was offset by his joint league-leading 12 yellow cards, though he has only been sent off once in his professional career. That infraction fell during the France U21 international's breakout stint with boyhood club Toulouse (59 appearances comprising six goals and one assist). His existing Gladbach deal runs through to 30 June 2025.
Watch: Manu Kone scored in the Battle of the Borussias in November 2022
Plays a bit like: Jude Bellingham
Physically imposing, quick, agile and a tireless worker, comparisons between Kone and Bellingham are inevitable. Gladbach's midfield dynamo was even fifth in a Bundesliga top five headed by the former Borussia Dortmund ace for challenges won in 2022/23. He was also his team's second best passer across the campaign (87.91 percent success rate), as well as the division's joint-most-fouled player along with Jonas Hector.
Did you know?
Kone came through at Toulouse alongside Gladbach teammate Nathan Ngoumou and Bayer Leverkusen attacker Amine Adli. The trio even holidayed together, along with fellow Toulouse product Bafode Diakhite, in summer 2022.
What they're saying
"He's still young, so obviously still makes some mistakes - but he's worth his weight in gold for us." - former Gladbach head coach Daniel Farke
"He's a huge talent who has been monitored by top clubs from across Europe." - ex-Gladbach sporting Max Eberl, upon confirmation of Kone's January 2021 transfer from Toulouse
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