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Talented AS Monaco youngster Soungoutou Magassa making terrific progress under Hutter’s tutelage

Another of AS Monaco’s highly talented young players to make waves this season has been Soungoutou Magassa, with his somewhat unexpected emergence being a real highlight for the Principality club.

Having made 22 appearances across all competitions for Adi Hutter’s team, it’s been a campaign of outstanding progress for the gifted 20-year-old.

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Versatility key

Although most comfortable playing as a defensive midfielder, it’s been nothing short of impressive seeing him show his versatility and adaptability to operate in central defence.

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Comfortable, composed and rising to the fore when called upon, Magassa deserves credit for adjusting to this role with aplomb. “I take great pleasure in this position. I have always been versatile. This is not the first time that I have played as a defender. If the coach wants to make me play midfielder, defender or even full-back, that’s fine with me. I will play where he needs me,” he told the Monaco Tribune.

Starting Monaco’s first eight Ligue 1 games this term, there was no doubting Magassa vindicated the faith of his manager through his performances, which also saw him shine in friendlies vs. Leeds United and Arsenal.

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“It’s true that he’s been a very good solution since the start of the season to compensate for absences,” Hutter explained.

“We must not forget that he is a midfielder by trade. He is improving, and I am very happy with his performances. He had some time for adaptation to play in what is a new position for him, but he is a young man who has a lot of talent. He has his place in the team at the moment.”

Journey to the top

Handling the step up in class admirably from the academy to the professional level, the man who grew up in Ile-de-France and joined ASM back in 2018 amid heavy competition from the likes of AC Milan and AS Roma has powered through the ranks nicely. “I started playing football in my hometown club, Sucy FC. Before that, I didn’t play in clubs, but a friend’s father advised me to sign up. I then played in several clubs in the Paris region before AS Monaco recruited me when I was at the Lusitanos Saint-Maur Sports Union,” he explained.

Following the path trodden by many of Monaco’s phenomenal youth products, Magassa, who notably enjoyed working under Thierry Henry within the club’s famed development setup, deservedly earned a first-team call up, making his senior debut in January 2022 against Quevilly-Rouen in the Coupe de France. He then proceeded to play his first Ligue 1 game vs. Stade Rennais that August.

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Despite only featuring twice more for the then Philippe Clement managed Monaco, this still gave him a crucial taste of the senior level, which held him in good stead to thrive in the 2023/2024 crusade under Hutter.

“I didn’t get much playing time, but it was my first season with the professional squad,” Magassa reflected. “It was an important season, which allowed me to integrate and adapt. I was helped a lot by Axel (Disasi), Benoit (Badiashile), Malang (Sarr), Mo (Camara), Youssouf (Fofana)… This allowed me to gain experience and that is what also allowed me to take my chance at the start of the season when the coach called on me during the preparation matches.”

Breakthrough season

Going from strength to strength under Hutter’s expert tutelage, the arrival of the Austrian last summer has been pivotal towards his success. Feeling the confidence of his coach and relishing being challenged by the demanding Austrian, he mentioned he’s particularly honed his craft on the mental side since the 54-year-old took over.

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

Idolising the likes of Patrick Vieira, Toni Kroos or Luka Modric, plus taking pointers from his outstanding teammates, the football obsessed Magassa never misses a chance to absorb any information in his quest to continually elevate his craft.

Boasting many of the desired attributes needed to excel in the modern game, his work with the ball at his feet provides him with a firm foundation to flex his muscles.

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Assured in possession, with great vision and effective at choosing the right pass for the right moment, Magassa backs himself to go for progressive passes to help his team beat the press. Showcasing his handy range of passing frequently, opponents have regularly been caught out with his penetrative distribution over a variety of distances.

The technically proficient youngster also influences proceedings smartly with his dribbling, where he takes every opportunity to drive upfield and gain territory for his team. He can then draw opponents to create passing angles and free up colleagues that can be accessed directly or via third man combinations.

Blessed with quick feet and some slick manoeuvres to outfox foes or gain separation, his aptitude in this regard has ensured he’s adapted to Hutter’s attacking philosophy smoothly.

Assertive, aggressive and keen to impose himself on the defensive end as well, much upside can be extracted from his stopping exertions.

Fulfilling marking assignments sharply, the ways he gets touchtight when opponents drop deep with their back to goal and tracks runners in behind attentively has been impressive.

Quick, agile, reacting rapidly and awake to danger, these are key strings to his bow that enable him to acquit himself well when isolated, plus when providing covering support to colleagues or jetting back to help in transition.

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Also strong in his duels, applying his interventions robustly, typically spot on with his positioning and working in unison with his fellow defenders, Magassa’s been a solid defensive presence.

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One area he’ll be looking for improvement in is his heading, for the 188 cm prospect was beaten more often than he would’ve liked. But this will be something he and the Les Monegasques coaching staff will be addressing in the pre-season to ensure he betters himself.

Bright future ahead

Exceeding expectations to establish himself at the highest level, the signs have been hugely promising that he has what it takes to grow into an elite player. The level-headed, hard working Magassa isn’t setting any concrete goals, however, for he’s just trusting the process. “I just want to perform well and play in the biggest matches in the biggest competitions, win the biggest trophies. I don’t really limit myself and I don’t set myself any specific objectives,” he insisted.

“I think if I continue to work, if I stay disciplined, applied and I listen to advice and remain humble, there is no reason why I can’t reach the highest level. I think everything comes with work. You also need to avoid injuries and have good people around you, which I do. If you have all that, there is no reason not to be a great player and play in the biggest matches.”

Set for an extremely bright future and in a fantastic environment for success at Monaco, it’ll be intriguing seeing how he fares next season too, where he’ll be hoping to build on his breakthrough campaign to keep up his momentum.

Related Reading: Analysis: Key stats behind AS Monaco’s superb season under Hutter

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Ready for the challenge ahead and not one to rest on his laurels, more exciting times await Magassa, as he’s primed to rise to the occasion again both domestically and in the Champions League in his pursuit of individual and collective success with Monaco.

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