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Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Here’s why a whole host of top clubs are keen to go to war over free agent Marcus Thuram – scout report

As the summer transfer window opens up, numerous strikers worth hundreds of millions are being considered. However, amidst this, one player stands out as a free agent and is creating a buzz in the market — Marcus Thuram, the French striker.

Having joined Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2019, Marcus Thuram has consistently displayed his talent and versatility across various positions in the forward line. His physical attributes make him an excellent fit for a seamless transition to higher-level leagues. In the Premier League, giants Manchester United need a striker, as well as AC Milan in Italy who are reportedly close to signing him, or even a move to Spain could be on the cards too.

This tactical analysis, presented as a scout report, explores Thuram’s playing style and unique characteristics at 189cm (6 foot 3) that have propelled him to become a player of exceptional quality and how he uses it very wisely.

Calculated agility & power

Despite recently transitioning into a full-time striker more than a right winger, Thuram has kept his astute decision-making and keen sense of perception. He understands precisely when and how to utilise his pace effectively.

Rather than relying on his pace as a one-size-fits-all solution or a means to challenge opponents in every situation, Thuram recognises that each football scenario is unique and that successful players adapt accordingly.

Thuram’s versatility lies in his ability to employ his coordination and perception skills to maintain control over his body, both with and without the ball. He doesn’t settle for obvious choices but instead identifies the most suitable ones. It is through wisdom that true success is achieved.

Below, during a game versus Hoffenheim, once Marcus Thuram received out wide, he moved inside which opened space for the left back to overlap.

Instead of opting for the more straightforward passing options (to the overlapping LB or the advanced midfielder), Marcus Thuram displays patience and waits for the opportune moment to make his decision.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Thuram chooses to move forward towards the baseline, bypassing the fullback with an inside-to-outside move. He then skillfully cuts the ball back to the oncoming diagonal runner, Alassane Pléa, who successfully converts the chance into a goal.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

In another example, this time against Düsseldorf, Thuram moves from the right side, enticing one of the defenders to follow to face him higher which creates a gap in the backline.

Rather than immediately opting for a safe pass to switch the ball from one half-space to another, Thuram waits for the right moment to exploit the newly generated space behind the defensive line.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Lilian Thuram’s son possesses exceptional mental acuity and situational awareness. Whether playing as a striker or a winger, he exhibits impressive scanning abilities and thought processes.

When operating as a striker positioned between the lines in front of the opposition’s backline, Thuram effectively exploits the small spaces and gaps created by vigilant opponents. Similarly, as a winger, Thuram displays a keen understanding of when to make well-timed runs behind or in proximity to the ball.

In the below scene from Oberachern versus Mönchengladbach, Alassane Pléa finds himself freely between the lines, while the opposition’s centre-back prepares to step forward to confront him.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

As soon as the centre-back takes a few forward steps, Thuram astutely identifies the vacant space and immediately demands the ball there. His teammates recognise this and find him through a well-executed third-man combination. Thuram confidently finishes the play by striking the ball into the net with the sole of his right foot.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Here or there, Thuram controls the ball using the inside of his right foot as he employs this technique to swiftly change directions by shifting the ball to the outside of his right foot. This skill allows him to evade opponents.

In a scene from Borussia M’gladbach’s visit to FC Köln, Marcus Thuram finds himself under pressure after dropping deep to receive a direct ball from the goalkeeper.

Despite the option of a safe back-pass to the fullback (indicated by the right colour), Thuram decides to be more proactive. He quickly identifies an opportunity and changes his movement to bypass his marker, creating space.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Having successfully evaded his marker and set the defender behind him, Thuram continues to showcase his agility by changing the direction of the ball with his right foot. Demonstrating his dynamic scanning ability, he keeps his head up to assess the situation. He identifies a teammate in a promising position but unfortunately, the latter missed.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Also, the French player (Italy-born) possesses strength and physicality, which grant him a significant advantage in aerial duels. This strength also plays a crucial role in his hold-up play, he is a striker who is capable of dropping deep to hold the ball up and exchanging simple one-twos before running behind.

Marcus Thuram can also be considered a tempo-changer, as the attack at his point changes to a faster pace than before him.

Nicknamed “Tikus”, Thuram consistently keeps his head up, receives the ball and swiftly moves forward, exploiting spaces, His adeptness at changing the direction of the ball using his right foot, combined with his patient approach, enables him to showcase his dribbling skills effectively. As per FBref, he ranks in the top 13% for successful take-ons and the top 12% for progressive carries among those in his position in Europe’s top five leagues. Despite this, he doesn’t like to dribble when having better options.

In the match between Bremen and M’gladbach, the below scene showcases Thuram’s technique and decision-making effectively.

Thuram receives the ball in a challenging situation, surrounded by three defenders. However, he quickly identifies an opportunity to exploit the space on the right side. Employing his dribbling technique, he cleverly keeps the front defender at bay while also creating distance between himself and the defender behind him.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Thuram successfully maintains control of the ball, managing to keep the two defenders as far away from it as possible.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

In a moment of brilliance, he executes a skilful reverse shot against the goalkeeper’s direction.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Comparing pizzas

We will take an example of his stats from transitioning from a winger in the 2020-21 season to a striker in 2022-23. The below graphic shows a statistical comparison between Thuram’s performances as a winger in the Bundesliga and his transformation as a centre-forward.

Marcus Thuram at Borussia Mönchengladbach 2022/23 - scout report

Aerial Duels: During the 2020-21 season, Thuram, operating as a winger, excelled in aerial duels, boasting an impressive number of aerial duels as he is at the 96th percentile and in the 92nd percentile in winning them per game which indicates his dominance in the air, contributing significantly to his team as a higher wide point to build the attack through a long ball. In contrast, when played as a CF, he doesn’t use this ability as he drops more than being a target man.

Shooting and Dribbling: Thuram’s ability to convert his shots improved when he transitioned to a centre forward. As a winger, he, in the 83rd percentile, exhibited a respectable shooting accuracy. However, playing as a CF, his shooting surged to an impressive rate putting him in the 89th percentile per game.

Likewise, Thuram’s dribbling skills witnessed growth. In his winger days, he is in the 75th percentile for the dribbles per match. However, as a CF, his dribbling rate escalated to the 78th percentile. Thuram’s enhanced ability to dribble in small spaces has added a new dimension to his game.

Involvement in the Opponent’s Penalty Area: As a winger, Thuram is in the 70th percentile touching the ball into the opponent’s box while being in the 79th percentile when operating as a striker.

Passing Ability: Passing accuracy and the type of passes a player makes are crucial in determining their effectiveness in connecting plays. As a winger, Thuram displayed a passing accuracy as he is in the 29th percentile. However, upon transitioning to a CF, his passing accuracy experienced a substantial boost, reaching impressive numbers that put him in the 75th percentile per game. This development highlights Thuram’s ability to drop to contribute and link with his teammates effectively.

Furthermore, Thuram’s progressive passes per game also increased significantly. He was in the 50th percentile per match as a winger to impressive numbers putting him in the 55th percentile when playing a CF which demonstrates his improved vision when it comes to advancing the ball into more dangerous areas.

The destination

In the current landscape of inflated transfer fees, the availability of Marcus Thuram as a free agent at the age of 25 presents an exceptional opportunity for any top-tier club. Numerous reports suggest that an agreement with AC Milan is imminent (at the writing time), although there is a looming threat of Manchester United potentially swooping in to secure his signature. Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain has also expressed significant interest, while Atletico Madrid’s pursuit appears less intense compared to other clubs.

Milan look to be an excellent fit for Marcus Thuram given their need for a striker to replace the ageing Olivier Giroud. Moreover, Thuram’s versatility would allow him to rotate with Rafael Leao on the wing, providing valuable depth and options in the attack.

Under Stefano Pioli, Milan’s tactics allow for individual creativity and freedom on the pitch. This style of play aligns well with Thuram’s skill set and could enable him to thrive. The possible combination between Thuram and Leao could become a captivating storyline in the upcoming Italian season, as both players possess immense potential.

Manchester United, with the delay in announcing the new acquisition of the club, stand by in the market and need not one striker, but two. Thuram would be a great solution, with the team also needing a left-wing compensator for Rashford and Garnacho in case of an emergency. His versatility will be appropriate, and his calmness and wisdom in the final third will give Erik ten Hag more creativity next season in front of deep blocks, especially with his physical capabilities suitable for the English Premier League.

In Paris, PSG are interested in him even before the appointment of the new head coach. After the departure of Lionel Messi, the potentially imminent departure of Neymar, and the mysterious situation of Kylian Mbappe, the attack will remain without many alternatives. Thuram will be considered here as a wonderful solution and completely ready for the French League.

In Spain, Atletico Madrid are considering Thuram, with his physical and technical capabilities, and his distinction in the transitions, which is what Simeone likes, considering him their main choice in the event of the sale of Joao Felix.


In conclusion, Marcus Thuram’s free agent has sparked excitement and interest among top-tier clubs as this analysis has illustrated.

Thuram’s abilities allow him to adapt to different situations on the pitch. He doesn’t rely solely on his pace but instead utilises his various skills to make wise decisions. Whether as a striker or a winger, he demonstrates exceptional mental acuity and situational awareness, exploiting spaces and creating opportunities for his teammates.

As a free agent, Thuram’s availability presents a unique opportunity for top clubs to acquire a player of exceptional quality without the burden of a weighty transfer fee. AC Milan, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Atletico Madrid are among the clubs showing strong interest in securing his services.