Date of Birth: 14.09.1994 (22 years old)
Position: Right Back
Value: 1.750.000 €
Contract Result: 30.06.2018
Height: 1.78 m
Leo Dubois, who was born in Segre, France and started to play football in the one of the regional teams at the age of 6, caught the eye of Nantes staff in 2008 and picked up by Nantes academy. He won Montaigu Tournament with U17s and played semi-final with U19s in Gambardella Cup. At that time he was positioned in “number 10”. After his successful season with Nantes B in CFA, which is the fourth tier of French football, he signed his first professional contract with Nantes in the summer of 2014 and made his debut on the thirty-sixth week of 2014/15 season by replacing Kian Hansen after 83 minutes against Bordeaux. 2 weeks later against Lens, he was in the starting line-up for the first time at professional level and stayed on the pitch for 82 minutes. At the end of the season he extended his contract until 2017 with Nantes.
In the 2015/16 season, he played mostly with Youssouf Sabaly switching in right and left back positions and made appearance in 28 games in total, started 26. In 2016/17 season he became irreplaceable in right back position and made appearance in 32 matches, starting in 30 of them and made 3 assists until now.
He wore France U21 shirt for the first time against Georgia in a friendly match on October 6, 2016 and kept on being called to the squad until the end of 2016. But now as he is getting older, he is a candidate for the A team in his position. As Bacary Sagna stands back from the national team Djibril Sidibe and Sebastien Corchia are seen as the most-favoured replacements but Leo Dubois is also shown as a potential right-back option, who competes with Steven Moreira and Youssouf Sabaly from his own generation.
Leo Dubois, who has mostly played in “number 10” position before joining Nantes academy and also in his first years at Nantes, shared left and right-back positions in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Youssouf Sabaly in 2015/16 season. In current season, we see that Dubois gained a place in right-back position of Nantes, which adopted a 4-2-2-2 formation with inside-cutting wingers after the arrival of Conceiçao.
Strengths (Mental, Versatility, Tackling, Interception, Offensive contribution, Crossing)
Dubois’s biggest strengths lie in the mental phases of the game as he can read the game impressively. He differs from most of the defenders by playing in “number 10” position before moving to right-back and also shows his versatility with his capability of playing left-back when needed. He positions himself well, knows where to stand, adjusts his tackling time good when facing his opponent and makes the right move at the right time to gain the ball. He is the fifth most successful tackler in his position in Ligue 1 by winning 52 balls until now. Similarly, he has success at interfereing to the balls coming to his opponent who is playing with his back thanks to his instincts. Despite he is not physically very strong, he shows success at challenges by combining his timing abilities and his combatant character. He has a success rate of 59% in 14.6 challenges per game. Besides these, Dubois has a very professional character and is a great team-player.
22-year-old French more stands out with his defensive attributes but still he contributes in the offensive side of the game as he fills the gaps in front of him quickly and brings variety to his team’s attack either with a key pass or a cross. He does not restrict himself to lateral actions, he also likes to cut inside. Generally he plays with easy passes but playing in “number 10” in his past makes him a visionary and key-pass-trying full-back around the opposition penalty area. He has 16 successful key passes in total and that makes him the fourth right back with most key passes in Ligue 1. He finds above mentioned big gaps in the counter-attack positions and supports his friends in counter-attacks by combining his offensive awareness with his pace. That makes him a player who fits in very well to counter-attack football.
As speaking of his offensive contribution, his technical skills must be also pointed out. He is very good at crossing than a regular full-back. He is one of the elite full-backs in this area and his statistics of succesing in the 31% of his 2.6 crosses per game confirm that. He can perform his whipped crosses also in set pieces and crosses dangerous balls in corners and side-free-kick situations.
Weaknesses (Aggression, Air balls, First touch, Passing mistakes)
We can not claim that Dubois is a defensively aggressive player. We may even see in some situations that he is fragile. This feature of his is not a big problem when we think about Ligue 1 characteristics but if he wants to step forward, he has to be more aggressive for sure. It can also be seen that he is giving his opponents freedom and not disturbing them as he should especially in penalty area which is a vital zone.
He has a height of 1,78 metres which is not small and he is doing okay with the air balls coming towards him, winning 57% of air challenges is an indicator of this but he struggles to play out the ball when it comes from sides into the penalty area and he lets the opponent to win the air challenge easily. Likely when opponent defenders send a flank-switching-ball, he can not position himself well.
Generally he is good with ball and has a good technique but sometimes he struggles with ball control and first touch. Especially he can make ball control mistakes when his team is trying to go forward and the opponent team is pressing higher up and that brings his team in a dangerous situation. He can also make passing mistakes in that kind of situations and he just gifts the ball to the opponent when his team was starting a counter-attack.
Similar Players: Juanfran, Matteo Darmian, Andreas Beck
Dubois is not as aggressive as him but still he shows similarities with Juanfran thanks to his defensive effort, his desicion-making in front of the opponent goal and his accurate crosses. Similarly with his defensive attributes and his versatility to play both sides of the pitch, he resembles Matteo Darmian and Andreas Beck.