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Kassoum Ouattara impressively stamping his mark at AS Monaco

Securing the services of Kassoum Ouattara from Ligue 2 side Amiens SC last November has proven a real masterstroke by AS Monaco.

Reportedly paying in the region of just €2 million to bring him to the French Riviera, there’s been plenty of upside to be extracted from his exploits so far.

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Having started making waves in the youth teams of US Ivry and FC Montrouge before joining the Amiens academy in 2020, all it took was two years until he was first promoted to the first-team.

Debuting in the 2022-23 campaign for Les Licornes, he went on to gain valuable professional experience over his 12 appearances.

He then carried on his momentum to begin last term too, for not only did he start Amiens’ first 10 games of the crusade, but he also made his bow for France’s U20s.

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With Caio Henrique’s devastating knee injury ruling him out for the season, the impressive Ouattara was duly snapped up as a replacement on a five-year deal by Les Monegasques.

“First of all I would like to say thank you to the club for the trust, to Thiago [Scuro] and to the coach of course. At that time of the season, it’s true that it was quite unusual to change teams. But as a footballer, you have to know how to adapt to progress quickly and be ready fairly quickly in the event of change,” Ouattara said.

Noting Adi Hutter’s offensively-geared approach as a particularly exciting aspect of why he joined, this has proven the case, for it’s given him a strong platform to use his attributes to the fullest. “Of course the AS Monaco style of play is something I like, it’s a team that attacks a lot and likes to put on a show, so that speaks to me. I like to attack, it’s in my blood. So playing this offensive style obviously made me want to join the club.”

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He then added this: “It’s true that I’m very comfortable as a left-sided wingback, because I already played in this position last season. This season with Amiens, we played more with four at the back, so I can also be comfortable in this configuration.

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“My qualities? I am rather comfortable in different aspects of the game, whether on the defensive or offensive level. I like to attack, but this season I also played in a four-man defence, I worked on the defensive side of things as well.”

Settling in nicely to the Austrian tactician’s plans, the man who idolised Brazilian legend Marcelo and has a huge appreciation of Caio Henrique has made steady progress despite arriving at a unique point in the season.

Related Reading: Adi Hutter: Everything you need to know about the AS Monaco manager

Granted his debut almost immediately against Stade Brestois, Ouattara was then eased in wisely by Hutter, who’s an expert at working with younger players. Initially given minutes off the bench while he adjusted to his new surroundings and teammates, it wasn’t long before he was starting games on the left side of ASM’s defence.

The French U20 international finished the season with 17 appearances in all competitions, including nine starts against the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique de Marseille, RC Lens, Reims and Montpellier.

Gaining crucial top-flight experience and going from strength to strength, his emergence has been extremely encouraging. Especially impressing on the big stage in Monaco’s 0-0 draw with PSG, the way he gathered some quality momentum and handled the step up in class from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, which he admitted is far more intense and technical, warrants immense praise.

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“I feel that I am progressing. Since my arrival, I have been used more as a counter-attacker, due to the fact that I played as a piston. It’s a special system. We have to defend up front and manage the space behind us,” he insisted back in March.

“During the last matches, I was positioned as a full-back in a four-man defence, you have to adapt and show your solidity. I gathered a lot of information. My goal is to work and progress as much as possible. The coach gives me his confidence and the goal is to give it back on the pitch.”

Taking his opportunities with both hands and translating his skill set nicely to Ligue 1, his attacking output has really caught the eye, with his debut goal against Montpellier a special milestone for him.

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Such a huge force to be reckoned with when given time and space to surge into, his devastating forward bursts have been a tremendous weapon to stretch backlines horizontally and vertically.

Boasting scintillating acceleration and elite top speed, there’s no stopping him once he’s away. Moreover, the way he smartly times his runs in behind, either on the overlap or underlap, compounds issues for opponents.

Providing his team with a great option for through balls over the top, switches of play and when the ball’s on the opposite flank, where his out-to-in blindside runs give him a dynamic advantage over stationary, ball-facing defenders, his crafty movement has been a major asset.

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Full of stamina and seeming to never tire getting up and down the flank, his fitness and work rate duly enhances his worth. 

Relishing any chance to get at foes 1v1, where he can use his pace and handy collection of moves to beat or gain separation from markers, Ouattara’s dribbling adds much impetus to his team’s offensive passages.

Supplementing the above with his quality crosses and cutbacks, he does a fine job of getting his head up to assess his options before tailoring his deliveries to oblige the movement of colleagues. Accurate, incisive and weighting his passes into the area coherently, he’s proven how effectively he can feed targets at the near or far post, in central areas and when they peel off to the edge of the box when defenders collapse deeper, with him having a pass for most scenarios.

Making great strides in terms of his defensive efforts, which has seen him hold his own against classy adversaries such as Ousmane Dembele, Marco Asensio and Florian Sotoca, Ouattara’s quickly developing into the complete package.

A further testament to how strikingly he’s established himself comes from his nomination for the Golden Boy top 100, which lists the best players under the age of 21 in Europe.

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Having just ran out for France’s U20s in the Maurice Revello Tournament, he’ll immediately turn his focus to next season, where he’ll hope to continue on his promising upward trajectory.

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While he knows there’s still huge scope for improvement, all the indicators are extremely positive that the future will be full of upside for Ouattara.

Disciplined, with a terrific attitude and guided by a strong support network, this, in alliance with his undoubted footballing prowess, should hold him stead to fulfil his potential.

Finding an ideal home at Monaco within a conducive environment to elevate his craft, expect him to keep improving on his journey to the upper echelons of the beautiful game.

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