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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:11 am 
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#5 Iddrisu Baba (RCD Mallorca)

Of all the players on this list, Iddrisu Baba is perhaps the most underrated and most unnoticed one. Born in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, Baba has spent his entire professional career in Spain, mostly in the lower divisions, coming through the ranks at Leganes and Barakaldo before breaking into the Mallorca first team in 2018.

In the current Mallorca side, which is fighting against relegation from La Liga (they are 18th at the time of writing, one point away from safety), Baba often plays as one half of a double pivot alongside Salva Sevilla in a 4-2-3-1 system but has also showcased his tactical flexibility when he has been handed the lone pivot role in a 4-1-4-1 formation. This easy adaptation to different roles is something that could prove valuable to several sides in the Premier League.

When Baba has another midfielder alongside him, he is often called upon to take up much of the defensive duties in the middle third of the pitch, a role which he is naturally suited to, given his athleticism and reading of the game. This is backed up by his numbers for the season; 1.2 interceptions and 1.7 tackles (at a 55% success rate) per game, in addition to only committing 1.2 fouls whilst earning 2 per game for his side. Playing him in this particular role, however, does do a slight disservice to his immense ability in possession.

When playing as the lone holding midfielder, Baba has far more responsibility, as he is expected to break the opposition press and initiate attacks, in addition to shielding the back-line and it is in this kind of role that he is sure to thrive. He averages 1.4 dribbles per game overall, a figure which rises to 1.7 when he is the single pivot, an encouraging sign as it shows his ability to escape markers and emerge with the ball. What really stands out, however, is the progressive nature of his passing. Mallorca, as a team, average nearly 20 passes into the final third of the pitch per game and Baba himself is responsible for 28% of those passes, at nearly 5.5 per game.

Baba would be a good fit either for a team which looks to play on the counter-attack, by soaking up pressure for long periods before releasing their attackers, or a side which prefers to dominate possession and needs a security system in the middle of the park. With these two styles in mind, he would be an excellent pick up for a team like Newcastle United or Brighton and Hove Albion and would be sure to catch the eye of bigger clubs in the future. ... ok-to-sign

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