Mahmoud Dahoud: Brighton’s new playmaker on a mission to rejuvenate his career

Noah Reed
By Noah Reed
10 Min Read

Last season Brighton secured European football for the first time in their history, and now they’re ready to make a statement. It’s been almost 2 weeks since the transfer window opened and Brighton have shown they aren’t messing around. 4 new names through the door with plenty more on the cards but one name which seems to have flown under the radar is former-Dortmund midfielder, Mahmoud Dahoud.

At 27 years old, Dahoud is well versed in the game now, making a name for himself in the footballing world back when he was just coming onto the scene at 20 years old playing spectacularly well at Borussia Monchengladbach. While a lot has changed since then, it is still clear he still obtains the qualities of a top player with his exceptional technical ability and eye for goal. All the way to his versatility and willingness to run at defenders making him a threat both in attack and in defense.

If a possession-oriented team were to create the perfect midfielder in a laboratory, the result would be close to what Mahmoud Dahoud is. It’s no wonder that Brighton, a team that prides itself on intelligent possession play, has set their sights on him.

So, what can Brighton expect from Dahoud and how will he fit into a team that is hungry for more success? We explore the potential impact of this exciting signing.

Mahmoud Dahoud – career so far

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Mahmoud Dahoud is a German-Syrian footballer who was born in the city of Amude, located in northern Syria. He began his footballing career in the lower leagues of Germany before being discovered by Borussia Monchengladbach, where he cemented his place as one of the most promising young midfielders in Europe.

Dahoud’s journey to professional football began when he joined the youth academy of SV Oberhausen, a team known for producing talented young players. From there, he moved to Fortuna Dusseldorf and continued his development in their youth setup. 

In 2012, Dahoud joined Borussia Monchengladbach’s U-17 team and immediately made an impact with his lightning-fast dribbling skills, creative runs, and ability to score goals. He then progressed rapidly through the youth ranks, earning a place in the senior team in February 2015.

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Dahoud’s debut for Borussia Monchengladbach came in a match against Eintracht Frankfurt, where he showed glimpses of his potential with his dynamic midfield play. He spent the next two seasons establishing himself in the first team of the club, making over 80 appearances and earning a reputation as one of the best young midfielders in Europe at the time, seemingly fulfilling the prophecy many saw for him.

In 2017, Borussia Dortmund came calling for the talented midfielder, and he signed for the club on a five-year deal worth over €12 million. However, his long stint at Dortmund has been patchy and he has faced common problems with injury but you can still see the player in there somewhere which I’m certain De Zerbi will hope to bring back out.

But throughout his career, Dahoud has established himself as a dynamic midfielder, known for his quick feet, vision, and the ability to score goals. He has also earned international recognition, having represented Germany at various youth levels from U-18 to U-21. 

Back on club level though, Dahoud’s move to Brighton now provides an opportunity for him to rejuvenate his career and showcase his skills in a highly competitive league. With his excellent first touch, technical ability, and vision, Dahoud looks set to make a significant impact in the team’s quest for success in both domestic and now European competition.

What can he bring to De Zerbi’s side?

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De Zerbi’s tactical approach emphasizes fluid and attacking football, with an emphasis on quick transitions and positional interchangeability. Dahoud’s skill set aligns perfectly with this philosophy, allowing him to thrive in Brighton’s midfield setup.

Mo Dahoud is renowned for his technical proficiency and vision and therefore is a natural fit for De Zerbi’s attacking philosophy. Operating as a playmaking midfielder, the 27-year-old German possesses the ability to unlock defences with incisive passes and intelligent movement.

  1. Dictating Tempo and Distribution:

Dahoud’s composure on the ball will allow him to dictate the tempo of Brighton’s attacks. His excellent passing range, both short and long, enables him to initiate attacks from deep positions or deliver penetrating through balls to break defensive lines as he found success doing in his original breakthrough run at Monchengladbach. This will be crucial in De Zerbi’s system, as quick and precise ball circulation is integral to unlocking opposition defences.

  1. Creative Vision and Final Third Presence:

Dahoud’s awareness and vision in the final third will add an extra dimension to Brighton’s attacking play. His capacity to spot and execute incisive passes, coupled with his intelligent movement, enables him to create many scoring opportunities in the game. By infiltrating the gaps between opposition lines, Dahoud can exploit space and provide key passes to forwards, injecting creativity and unpredictability into Brighton’s attack.

  1. Linking Midfield and Attack:

Dahoud’s role as a playmaking midfielder bridges the gap between the defensive line and the attacking third. His ability to receive the ball in deeper areas and progress it forward will facilitate seamless transitions from defence to attack. Furthermore, his awareness of positional rotations and his ability to exploit spaces will enable him to connect with the forwards and contribute to the attacking phases effectively.

  1. Overlapping Runs and Movement:

In De Zerbi’s system, midfielders are encouraged to make overlapping runs to create numerical superiority in wide areas. Dahoud’s intelligence and off-the-ball movement make him an ideal candidate to execute these runs, stretching the opposition defense and opening passing lanes for his teammates. This movement will enhance Brighton’s attacking options, creating multiple angles for incisive passes and crosses into the box.

What are his individual standout qualities?

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Beyond his playmaking prowess, Dahoud possesses many top-level individual qualities that align with De Zerbi’s tactical approach, hopefully ensuring a seamless integration into the Brighton setup.

  1. Ball Carrying and Progression:

Dahoud’s ability to carry the ball forward with purposeful dribbling provides an additional weapon in Brighton’s attacking arsenal. His close ball control, combined with quick and agile movement, allows him to evade opponents and progress the ball through midfield. This skill will aid in breaking opposition defensive structures, as Dahoud can draw markers towards him, creating spaces for his teammates to exploit.

  1. Press Resistance and Defensive Contribution:

One aspect that sets Dahoud apart is his ability to navigate through intense pressing situations. His astute decision-making under pressure and technical proficiency enables him to maintain possession and alleviate pressure in midfield. Additionally, his defensive contribution cannot be overlooked, as he has displayed good anticipation and tactical awareness to disrupt opposition passing lanes and initiate counter-pressing sequences.

So what does this all mean for Brighton?

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The acquisition of Mahmoud Dahoud signifies Brighton’s ambition to bolster their attacking capabilities under Roberto De Zerbi. His playmaking abilities, combined with his individual skills, make him an ideal fit for De Zerbi’s tactical approach. Dahoud’s vision, distribution, and ability to unlock defences will enhance Brighton’s creativity in the final third, while his ball-carrying skills and defensive contribution add versatility to the team’s overall playstyle. As Dahoud integrates into De Zerbi’s system, expect him to play a pivotal role in Brighton’s quest for attacking excellence in the seasons to come.

MUST READ: The Roberto De Zerbi Revolution

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