Sheffield United defender Chris Basham has praised team-mate Iliman Ndiaye and compared Liverpool hero Sadio Mane.
Ndiaye has had a brilliant start to the season at Sheffield United, registering five goals and one assist in 10 league appearances. He opened the scoring for the Blades against Preston North End on Saturday as Paul Heckingbottom’s side lost 2-0.
United Kingdom of Sheffield didn’t have to pay any money when signing Ndiaye from Boreham Wood in the summer of 2019. It now looks like an exceptional transfer deal.
Ndiaye, who usually operates in an advanced midfield role, is showing his formidable strength, dribbling and shooting skills this campaign.
United supporters wondered where most of their creativity would come from once Morgan Gibbs-White returned to Wolves this summer. But Ndiaye, along with Sander Berge, proves that the Blades no longer need Gibbs-White.
The 22-year-old has arguably been one of the best players in the second tier this season. And he is now part of the Senegal national team as well, having won his first cap for them in June.
Ndiaye has also been called up to Senegal’s squad for their games against Bolivia and Iran this month. He hopes to impress manager Aliou Cissé so he can make the squad for the Qatar World Cup.
As Ndiaye partakes in international duty, Basham sang the praises of his attacking teammate. In an interview with Sheffield-based journalist Alan Biggs, Basham drew comparisons between Ndiaye and Mane, who scored 120 goals during a six-year spell at liverpool.
Basham salutes “the elite” Iliman Ndiaye
Basham said: “Every day in training it is difficult to play against him. He uses his body so well, his feet are so fast and powerful.
“He will be part of the elite. He learns very well, his finish is good. It can be better sometimes, but it’s [young].
“He’s scoring outrageous goals in training – the boys are just buzzing about how good he is. It’s great and a privilege to have him on our side.
“I said that in the Premier League the most difficult person I had to play against was Mane. [Ndiaye] will be up there for sure, from the same country too. It produces the same type of quality.
It will be fantastic to hear for Ndiaye. It will be a huge boost for him to be compared to one of his country’s greatest players in Mane. And that also comes from a United legend in Basham.
Ndiaye has made tremendous progress over the past 18 months or so. He went from being a peripheral figure on the team to one of the first names on the team roster under Heckingbottom.
While that’s great for everyone involved with the Blades, they need to find him a new contract.
Ndiaye’s current deal expires in June 2024. He also won’t be worth too much money, so United must start talks over an extension, which is expected to include a pay rise.
This will help keep interested clubs off the attacker’s trail. According to a recent tweet from Fabrizio Romano, Premier League sides have considered signing him in the past.
Meanwhile, Ndiaye’s team-mate Berge admits it’s ‘nice’ to have been wanted by Liverpool and Chelsea in the summer transfer window.