Defender | RB Leipzig | France
First off, let’s start with the name. It’s a great name, requiring the kind of linguistic acrobatics that would delight Mary Poppins. Sadly however – but practically – it is often shortened to Dayot.
Dayot is a rangy centre-back whose lightning pace can easily get him out of trouble. Very rarely though does he find himself in trouble. And the combination of these truths has seen him seriously linked to Barcelona on two occasions now.
The first time was in 2016; with the precocious talent bossing proceedings at Red Bull Salzburg’s feeder club Leifering only then the speculation swiftly fell away. Instead the Evreux-born defender stepped up to the Austrian Bundesliga and made that look easy too, displaying a level of composure and awareness that astounded when he was 18 and still astounds now.
French U21 caps duly followed along with a €10m transfer to Germany and RB Leipzig where he has steadily ascended to being widely regarded as one of Europe’s most promising young players. Dayot is a thoroughly modern incarnation of a traditional stopper and the blending of these two ideals – a no-nonsense combativeness coupled with a technical aptitude that allows him to stroll out of the back-line – means he is almost certainly destined to scale great heights.
2018 has been…
…extremely impressive and just as encouraging. His breakout season in the German top flight saw him complete more passes than any other teenager in the top five leagues and as his stature grew so too did the transfer rumours. In April it was reported that Barcelona were considering a £90m summer bid with influential figures at Camp Nou viewing Dayot as Gerard Pique’s long-term successor. Four months later he was shortlisted for the 2018 Golden Boy award.
That the move didn’t materialise is of no immediate relevance or reflection on the centre-back though it is pertinent to state that Dayot has reserved his best performances this season for the Europa League. Perhaps the interested parties – because surely Barca are not alone – consider the tough climes of the Bundesliga to be the ideal learning curve for Dayot to be on right now?
There he is clearly enjoying himself, striking up a profitable partnership at the back with fellow French U21 star Ibrahima Konate and progressing on a weekly basis.
A move to a European giant obviously and promotion too on the international stage beckons though it should not be under-estimated how difficult the latter will be to achieve.
With Varane, Kimpembe, and Umtiti ahead of him in the queue – not to mention Premier League form by Aymeric Laporte so strong it might eventually defrost personal differences between player and coach – Dayot has it all to do to force his way into the French set-up.
Thankfully he has the skill-set to do that, along with the temperament, and most definitely the time.