Current Club: ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
DOB: 21 March 2004
Birthplace: Koumassi, Ivory Coast
Height: 178 cm (5’10)
Favorite Foot: Right
|ASEC Mimosas (2020-)
|Ligue 1 CIV, CAF CL & CAF CC
|Senior National Team
* Statistics are approximated due to a lack of exact data for the Ligue 1 Côte d’Ivoire. Statistics from CAF Confederation Cup and CAF Champions League are included along with Ligue 1 data.
Karim Konaté is the latest prospect to come from Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas and their academy that is known as Académie MimoSifcom. The 18-year-old is a pure striker with excellent instincts inside the penalty area who is continuing to develop his ability to play on the wings and contribute to his team’s attacking buildups. Konaté is very elusive and slippery, making him hard to track whether dribbling or off the ball due to his top level acceleration and speed. In addition to his skill as a goal scorer who can regularly get behind the defense and attack the ball in the air, Konaté serves as an excellent outlet who can hold the ball up on the wings.
At this point the most important area for Konaté to improve in is his efficiency with the ball. His urgent style of play leads to moments when he attempts to do too much with his passing when the simple option is best. However, if Konaté can find a way to be more involved throughout the ninety minutes and improve his strength as well as effectiveness with his back to goal, the sky is the limit for the young Ivorian.
General Pros and Cons
+ Deadly when finishing in the penalty area. Surges into gaps to attack services into the box and excels when attacking aerial balls.
+ Excellent acceleration to sprint into space beyond defenders and hardly loses speed when moving with the ball on the dribble.
+ Is already very good at creating opportunities in the final third. Initiates and finishes quick pass combinations while always looking to play the difference making ball.
– Is average to below average when playing the ball with his back to goal. Will need to develop strength to succeed at the top of the formation for the next level.
– Needs to improve efficiency and decision making when contributing to his team’s attacking buildups. Sometimes tries to make too much with the touches he gets.
+ Elite level acceleration and speed; explosive. Flies by defenders and gets up to top speed rapidly.
+ Excellent agility. Glides through traffic and thrives when operating in tight spaces.
+ Good vertical that allows him to leap over taller players when attacking on aerial duels.
– Lacking in strength which leaves him overwhelmed when attempting to hold the ball up or on aerial duels against physical central defenders.
+ Slick dribbler who is not afraid to take defenders on. Is rarely dispossessed when engaged by only one defender due his close control on the ball.
+ Good finisher at this point with room to improve. Does well to get his shots on target in traffic and is lethal from inside ten yards when he pounces on service into the box.
+ Continues to improve on his final pass and is developing the ability to create for his teammates more.
– Average power on his shot. Does not pose much of a threat when shooting from outside the penalty area and needs to continue developing his weaker left foot.
– Lacks accuracy when attempting to head passes. Needs improvement and more direction on his flicked headers.
+ Excellent confidence. Has quite a bit of flair and fearlessness to his game that makes him particularly threatening as a striker because it makes him unpredictable.
+ Already has excellent poaching instincts in the penalty area. Anticipation allows him to be first to the ball on rebounds and find openings in the defense.
– Should attempt to generally be more involved if he wants to excel at the top level. Sometimes does not get as many touches that a star player at his current level should get, leaving coaches and supporters wanting more.
– Needs to be more efficient with his decision making when helping team in the attack buildup. Often attempts to go for the deadly pass when maintaining possession is the better option.
+ Excels at receiving the ball out wide and maintaining possession to allow more teammates to join the attack. Getting better and better as an outlet to relieve pressure.
+ Speed allows him to stretch and keep defensive line honest. Always looking to play on the back shoulder of center backs and full backs.
– Struggles to hold the ball up in the center of the field against physically imposing center backs. Often fails to win headers when he has to wait for the ball and opponent can attack on aerial duels, making him currently an inadequate target man.
For our video analysis of Konaté, we decided to closely examine his contribution to the attack and why he still has so much room to grow in this department. The one thing that is clearly visible when watching the young forward is how he attempts to play with urgency, which is an excellent trait for a young forward because it prepares him for the higher level of play he aspires to. However, there are many occasions in the video of Konaté’s time with ASEC where he attempts to do too much while playing quickly and struggles whenever he does slow down a bit to try and break down opposition defenses:
At the same time there are so many positive moments where Konaté shows that he is quite capable of being more than a pure poacher. His skill at drifting out wide to act as an outlet creates opportunities by allowing his fellow attackers to join in while he draws defenders out to create space. Once the space is created then his style of playing quickly initiates rapid attacking movements that not only open things up for his teammates but himself once he uses his speed to move into the gaps. Watch how Konaté shows promise of the vision he possesses, but also how he makes his team so much more dangerous without needing to make complex passes:
Evaluation: Ready to be signed by an elite team but will need one or perhaps two spells on loan.
While the physical traits that Konaté has are clear to see and suggest that he is ready to move to a UEFA Champions League level club, his emphasis on playing the ball quickly along with his predatory instincts in the penalty area indicate his potential to succeed at the very top. Konaté attacks services into the penalty area to finish with his head or feet and with continued physical development should fit the ideal profile of a pure striker. At this point it is important that he continues to improve his ability to link up with the midfield and his fellow attackers in order to be a bit more versatile, which will help him fit into any forward slot in a 3-player front line.
Once he does move to a top level team, however, it is essential that his development is handled carefully. There are two players who come to mind when seeing what future development path is to come for Konaté: Romelu Lukaku and Amad Diallo. Lukaku found an excellent level to develop by moving on loan from Chelsea to West Bromwich Albion and then Everton, places where he benefitted from being used out wide at times in addition to his natural spot at the head of the formation.
Diallo, however, while still being only 19-years-old at this point, has struggled to graduate to senior club football on loan at Rangers and has seen little time with parent club Manchester United’s first team. If Konaté is to discover superstardom, he and his team will need to ensure he joins a club that will treat the next couple of seasons with utmost care regarding what is the best situation for him to find his stride.