Position: Central Midfield/Defensive Midfield
Current Club: Al Ahly (Egypt)
DOB: 16 October 1997
Height: 179 cm (5’10)
Weight: 78 kg (171 lbs)
|AC Djoliba (-2018)
|Malian Première Division
|MC Alger (2018-2019)
|Algerian Ligue 1 Professionelle
|Al Ahly (2019-)
|Egyptian Premier League
|Mali U-23 (2015-2019)
|Youth National Team
|Mali 'B' (2016)
|African Nations Championship
Aliou Dieng is an energetic central midfielder who impacts matches with his ability to carry the ball through the midfield and win balls up high. Has the engine, tackling, and technical capabilities to feature in a #6 or #8 role. Helps win the midfield and possession battle by relentlessly engaging the opposition to win the ball back.
Dieng’s positioning suffers at times as a result of his attempts to cover more ground than necessary. More patience on both the offensive and defensive ends will help Dieng’s game significantly. If Aliou can develop better decision making in the final third, he will be a complete central midfielder.
General Pros and Cons
+ Maintains high engine and workrate throughout 90 minutes. Stays heavily involved in stopping and initiating attacks in the center of the park.
+ Keeps opposing midfielders on alert by being very quick to pressure players on the ball.
+ Operates well in possession and is elusive in tight spaces. Breaks lines by making quick dribbling runs forward and moving the ball with urgency.
– Decision-making on passes needs improvement for the next level. Has moments of carelessness.
– Not as efficient in the challenge in the defensive third. At this point not the destroyer and ball-winner he is capable of being in his own half.
– A bit naive when operating around the opposition penalty box, not a natural creator or scorer.
+ Above average pace. Very quick on accelerations and short sprints.
+ Excellent agility. Able to dance through traffic and escape from tight spots when in possession.
– Not the favorite in aerial battles. Average vertical and not physically imposing in the upper body.
+ Good at distributing the ball quickly and shifting the focus of attack through accurate switches of play.
+ Handles well in traffic and shuttles the ball forward quickly, making him a valuable asset in transition.
– Doesn’t use left foot very often and is limited with what he can do when not using his favored right.
– Room for improvement when defending in the defensive third. Not as dominant and efficient with his challenges as he can be.
+ Despite active nature, generally does well to avoid collecting too many cards.
– Needs to develop more patience. Tendency to make more passing and positioning errors when the pace of play slows.
♦ Hasn’t yet developed the consistency to show his quality every match. Plays to the level of his competition.
+ Does well at carrying and passing the ball between the lines.
+ Real asset for teams seeking to maintain a higher line. Always wants to be on the front foot and apply pressure. Very good disruptor and collector of loose balls.
– Tries to cover too much ground. Finds himself scrambling back and needing to make difficult challenges.
Rankings are from the 2019-20 Egyptian Premier League season and includes 157 central midfielders:
|Defensive Duel Success %
|Interceptions Adjusted for Posession/90
Dieng stands out for his impressive ability to disrupt. His recovery numbers indicate how he is always around to engage ball handlers and sweep in to collect loose balls. The counterpressing recoveries show when the ball is won in the opposition half, which is where Dieng likes to press up high and be a nuisance. While his defensive presence can be impressive, Aliou needs to be efficient when he engages, and sometimes his enthusiasm sacrifices precision. Increasing his duel success rate and patience are steps he needs to take for the next level.
Now let’s take a look at how Dieng fares with the ball at his feet:
|Pass Completion %
|Dribble Success %
The passing numbers indicate that Aliou is generally a positive contributor to his team’s possession, but that he could still improve his efficiency further. His deep completions statistic proves that he tends to run out of ideas when he has the ball near his opponent’s penalty area and is a limited attacking threat. However, his ability to carry the ball forward allows him to initiate attacks and distribute to better playmakers.
Evaluation: Good enough to play and develop more in a league like Belgium or Portugal
Al Ahly have had success controlling the midfield in the CAF Champions League this season, and Aliou Dieng contributes to this with his skillset. Dieng brings good athleticism to complement his high energy and ability to move the ball between the lines. A top-half club in Belgium or Portugal would find Dieng useful for disrupting the opposition and quickly getting the ball to creative teammates.
Criticism of Dieng’s game revolves around his impatience and tentative play in the final third. His enthusiasm to be involved often can leave him out of position when defending in transition. At a higher pace of play Dieng would find himself recieiving more cards due to his tackling being less precise. If Aliou can develop technically and mentally, he does have the ability to play in a competition like the UEFA Europa League.