Who is Angelo Fulgini? France U19 Catching Man United’s Eye
Dijon’s Stade Gaston-Gérard is a familiar backdrop for matches in Ligue 2, but the 16,000-seater stadium feels a million miles away from the glitz and glamour of the stadia of Europe’s elite clubs. However, last night’s one-all draw between Olivier Dall’Oglio’s home side and their visitors Valenciennes saw the arrival of a player to the ground who is attracting attention from some of Europe’s biggest names. His name is Angelo Fulgini – and according to the Daily Mirror, the talented eighteen-year-old’s development with Les Valenciennois is being monitored extremely closely by Manchester United’s France-based scout David Friio.
The Ivory Coast-born right-back impressed last night, showing a sense of defensive composure and positional awareness that far exceeds his years, and for those who have been lucky enough to watch his development, it’s no surprise that Fulgini is the latest French youth product to draw attention from recruitment analysts working on behalf of some of European football’s top clubs.
The eighteen-year-old shows great maturity, as he rarely neglects to remember his defensive duties as a full-back, despite his prowess when venturing up the field. Despite his age, Fulgini stands out physically because of his formidable athletic build and he uses this to great effect when holding off wingers when he is in possession, or equally when he attempts to win the ball back by using his strength to shoulder players aside. He also marks opponents extremely tightly and importantly shows good levels of concentration before committing to tackles.
The level-headed right-back overlaps well when going forward and often uses trickery to go by players, also possessing great technical ability with the ball at his feet. He often elects to play perfectly-weighted passes infield to his teammates, giving him an important role in his side’s build-up play.
Despite clearly having the potential to be a future international right-back, Fulgini is by no means the finished product, and his sometimes ineffective delivery from crosses reveals a side to his game that is still very raw. This however should be expected from a player who is still obviously at a very early development stage of his career.
Despite making his Ligue 2 debut just this season and mainly being afforded regular first-team football thanks to Lyes Houri’s January window departure to SC Bastia, Fulgini has long been tipped as a rising star by experts within the French game. The eight-time France U19 squad cap first rose to prominence when he was integrated into Valenciennes’ youth system in 2007, becoming a regular feature in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais side’s U15 team.
Fulgini revealed in an interview with La Voix du Nord that as a youth team player, AC Milan attempted to lure him away from the Stade du Hainaut to the San Siro after they contacted his agent, but he remained firmly focused on breaking into his current club’s reserve squad.
After impressing at CFA 2 level last year and making his break through into the first team this season, Fulgini has, according to L’Équipe, earned the attention of FC Barcelona’s new sporting director, Ariedo Brieda, a long-time admirer of Fulgini since his days as AC Milan’s general director. Fulgini spoke openly about his desire to play for the Catalan giants one day in an interview with TF1’s flagship TV programme Téléfoot, describing Barcelona as ‘the best team in the world’.
Despite his obvious fondness for FC Barcelona, Manchester United could have a serious advantage over Luis Enrique’s side in terms of a move for Fulgini if their recruitment analysts were to attempt to sign the full-back this summer. The La Liga club will be unable to sign players at the end of the current season because of their FIFA-enforced transfer embargo, thus preventing them from making a summer move for Fulgini. The eighteen-year-old is under contract until 2016 and it’s believed that his Ligue 2 employers may be enticed into cashing in on their youth product, should an offer arrive in the summer.