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Tosin Adarabioyo: The Most Underrated Defender In The Premier League

Tosin Adarabioyo has been quietly going about his business since he left Manchester City in 2020 for Fulham, but he has slowly become one of the most underrated footballers in the entire league. The English defender, who is also eligible to play for Nigeria, has been a key cog in the Fulham side over the last number of seasons, even getting into the Championship Team of the Year for their promotion in the 21/22 season.

In the Premier League, he has been ever-reliable for his team, only missing 12 games through injury in his entire career up until this point. These are the types of statistics the recruitment team will look at when deciding to sign a new player, and as far as injuries go, there are few players within the Premier League who can boast a better record than that.

How good is Tosin Adarabioyo?

“He is fast, strong in the air, and has the quality to look forward behind the line for the next pass. He definitely has a future in the first team”.

Pep Guardiola on Tosin Adarabioyo in 2016.

Adarabioyo clocked the fastest speed in the entire Premier League last season when compared to other defenders in the division. The Fulham defender reached a top speed of 34.8 km/h, which was faster than Arsenal’s William Saliba and Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk.

Speed is a major attribute for a centre-back, especially in the modern game, and to boast a top speed higher than Van Dijk and Saliba, who are viewed as the two best in the league, is a serious display of the pace.

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Adarabioyo has yet to be called up to the England side, but when compared to his competition at international level, the 26-year-old stacks up extremely well. The former West Brom defender has a pressured pass percentage of around 75%, bettered by only John Stones and Ezri Konsa out of the options available to Gareth Southgate at the moment.

The Fulham centre-half is the most well-rounded out of all the England defenders on the ball statistically, with a long ball completion rate of 64%, which is better than the likes of Harry Maguire, Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori and Max Kilman.

Defensively, Tosin’s statistics compared to the rest are commendable. He has tackled 81% of dribblers that have engaged him this season, which is higher than both Harry Maguire and John Stones. His aerial duel percentage is also among the best, with the defender winning 87% of his aerial duels this campaign, the joint highest alongside Harry Maguire and John Stones.

We missed him a lot, we missed him because he didn’t play the first three months of the season. Tosin is a special player for us, I can’t hide that situation.

“The way he can defend the box but also on the ball he is a special player for me, the way I want to play, the way he can build (from the back).

Marco Silva on Adarabioyo’s recent return from injury.

The 26-year-old has kept 17 clean sheets during his time in the Premier League with Fulham, winning 188 aerial battles in 74 games. He has made just one error leading to a goal, which is less than a number of his competitors for England.

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In the Premier League this season, when ranked against the other players in the league, Adarabioyo ranks in the 92nd percentile for his aerial duel success rate, the 84th percentile for his progressive passes, and the 81st percentile for his progressive carries, according to Data MB. These numbers are higher than any centre-back that has played for Manchester United this season.

Manchester United Bound?

Given all these statistics, matched with the fact he’s the fastest defender out of the rest of the England setup, it’s a surprise he has never been given a call-up by Gareth Southgate. The fact that Tosin plays for Fulham and not someone like Manchester United or Manchester City may work against him, and a move away to one of those clubs in the summer could see him finally break into the England fold.

The defender is a Manchester United fan, and as we have previously reported on the website, he is interested in a move back to Manchester this summer, with his contract at Fulham set to expire in June. There is a real chance he joins one of the Manchester clubs if an agreement cannot be reached with Fulham, and as we revealed exclusively on our website, Manchester United are interested in the player and have been following him for some time, dating back to his days in Manchester City’s academy.

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United are set for a defensive overhaul in the summer, with Raphael Varane tipped to leave the club. Harry Maguire’s future also remains in the air, and there have been no reassurances given that Victor Lindelof will remain at Old Trafford. Jean-Clair Todibo and Tosin have been linked to United in recent weeks, with Adarabioyo being the cheaper of the two defenders. Jarrad Branthwaite has also been heavily linked with a fee of around £60 million.

INEOS are anticipated to begin moving in the coming weeks as the summer window draws closer. The new owners are eager to try and reestablish United’s reputation in the market, so deals such as Adarabioyo on a free are likely to be something they identify and try and do as they aim for cheaper and more intelligent purchases when compared with the past.

One thing is for sure: the Fulham defender is hugely underrated, and Manchester United would be getting one of the best defenders in the league if they landed the 26-year-old this summer.

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