focus16 January 2021

SOUALIHO MEÏTE: OUR PLAYER IN FOCUS

Learn more about the Rossoneri’s latest acquisition, as we look at his career and technical characteristics

Soualiho Meïté is the newest addition to the engine that is the Rossoneri midfield. The 26-year-old (born 17 March 1994), of Ivorian origins but a native of Paris, arrives from Torino with whom he has registered one goal and one assist in 14 appearances this season. The Frenchman joins the Rossoneri on loan until the end of the season.

HIS CAREER SO FAR

Soualiho took his first footballing steps at the historic football school of FC Gobelins Paris 13, affiliated with PSG, before continuing on to Vincennes. Many suitors around Ligue 1 had been eyeing him up when he chose Auxerre at the age of 13. In the ranks of AJ Auxerre, he started out as a defender, but alternated between different roles, including that of an intercepting midfielder ahead of the defence, a role which became more and more his own. He joined the B team in the National 2 league (fourth division) but his big break was only a matter of time: his debut in Ligue 1 came while he was still a minor, on 20 November 2011, and his first goal came in the Coupe de la Ligue on 7 August 2012. After Auxerre were relegated in 2013, Lille secured Meïté's talent; in two and a half seasons there he found himself playing for three different managers and was always adapting to different styles of play, even though he did make his debut in the Champions League. In the 2016 winter transfer window he moved to Zulte Waregem. He spent two years in the Jupiler Pro League, on loan at first and then on a permanent basis, before the doors of Ligue 1 reopened for him at Monaco. He could not carve out a place for himself in the Principality, so after six months there he went on loan to Bordeaux. At the end of that season, he touched base temporarily before Torino came knocking at the door, and thus began his adventure in Serie A. His impact for the Granata was a crucial one, scoring his first goal at San Siro against Inter, before repeating the feat not long into the game with Udinese. In two and a half seasons there he made 94 appearances, being used continuously by three different coaches: Mazzarri, Longo and Giampaolo.

TECHNICAL TRAITS

As mentioned, his career began bouncing between different roles, from the centre of defence to the heart of midfield, always taking advantage of his big physical stature (1.87 metres tall) and his physical strength. Athletically he can be devastating, combining his physical qualities with tactical intelligence and elegance with the ball at his feet. Also worth noting is his outstanding ability to put the ball into the box, especially from set pieces. His mission now is the search for consistency.

NATIONAL TEAM

Despite the interest of Sabri Lamouchi, at the time selector for the Ivory Coast, Soualiho has always preferred to play for the French national teams. He made his debut for the Under-16 transalpine team in 2009, before continuing his journey to the Under-17 level with whom he played as a starter (scoring one goal) during their European Championship campaign in 2011. Between 2021 and 2013 he was selected yet again for the Under-19s and the Under-20s; his last appearance with Les Bleus was in March 2014.


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