They may not be household names just yet, but you’d better get used to them! Almamy Touré, Abdou Diallo, Dylan Bahamboula and Abdou Aziz Thiam were playing with the U17s, U19s and in the CFA group last season. Now, they’ve taken their places with the seniors.
Almamy Touré, a precocious talent
Born on 28 April 1996, this uncompromising centre back began his CFA career back at the start of 2012 - at the tender age of fifteen! A quiet character off the pitch, once he steps over the touchline his personality shines through. Cool as a cucumber in the face of adversity, he was a member of the U19 side that won the French championship in 2013, but a string of injuries delayed his progress and arrival among the pros. Now though, at just 18 years of age, it’s clear the injury problems haven’t prevented him from fulfilling his potential.
Abdou Diallo, a tower of strength
Born on 4 May 1996, he was called into the senior squad by Claudio Ranieri last season, and even featured on the bench for the French Cup match against Chasselay. Fresh from graduating high school, he signed professional forms at the end of March. Like Almamy Touré, Abdou Diallo is a central defender by trade, but is comfortable playing further up the pitch or on the flanks. Having been selected to represent France at every level from the U16s and up, Abdou took part in the U19s epic adventure in 2013 – when he was just 17!
Video: Abdou Diallo signs pro terms
Born on 22 May 1995, he’s the elder statesman of the four. And also the most attacking-minded. With above-average technique and a searing burst of pace that works wonders in one-on-one situations, he performed the playmaker role for the U19s side that became French champions in 2013, but also for the team that made it to the semi-finals of the Coupe Gambardella last season. His imposing stature and long legs suggest he could have a profil similar to Paul Pogba, but playing further up the pitch.
Abdou Aziz Thiam
Born on 15 January 1997, he’s the youngest of the four and skipped the CFA stage entirely! Incredible to think that last June he was playing in the finals of the U17 National Championship... During the season, he was often moved up to the U19s and was played in a slightly deeper position. On arriving at AS Monaco in 2012, he is midfielder and his technique and cool head allowed his quality to shine through. At just 17 years of age, he is definitely one to watch, and this first experience with the seniors will see him break new ground.