Is Leonardo Bittencourt Manchester United's Antoine Griezmann Alternative?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJuly 10, 2014

Real Sociedad left attacking midfielder Antoine Griezmann is a Manchester United summer transfer window target, per talkSPORTBut if United fail to sign Griezmann in the summer transfer window, could Hannover 96's Leonardo Bittencourt be an alternative?

To cover that hypothetical scenario, here is a scouting report on Bittencourt, a 20-year-old, 5'7", 137-pound German. 


Bittencourt Positives

Able to play across midfield, Bittencourt is pacey and two-footed.

Like Griezmann, Bittencourt scores goals on the left flank with his left foot, as evident with a placed shot and a laced shot against Wolfsburg. 

Another example of Bittencourt using his left foot was when he jinked past Hamburg centre-back Michael Mancienne, cut in and hit a shot that crashed on to the post after a deflection off Hamburg centre-back Johan Djourou.

Bittencourt is direct, eager, lively, plays at a rushed pace and is a more lethal dribbler than Antoine Griezmann.

League OnlyAntoine GriezmannLeonardo Bittencourt
Completed Dribbles2373
Dribbles Per Game0.72.4

When Bittencourt switches over to the right wing, he is predominantly a provider, another area where he is better than Griezmann.

League OnlyAntoine GriezmannLeonardo Bittencourt
Key Passes 3435
Key Passes Per Game1.01.1
Pass %77.274.2
Successful Crosses/Attempted Crosses19/7522/84
Cross Completion %25.326.2

Noticing Mainz left-back Joo-Ho Park straggling, Bittencourt burst forward.

Demanding the ball from Hannover substitute Didier Ya Konan, Bittencourt received the pass, exchanged a 1-2, which resulted in a goal.

Taking the ball past Hertha Berlin left-back Fabian Holland, Bittencourt sent a low cross to Hannover utility player Lars Stindl.

Bittencourt accelerated away from Holland and dragged Hertha centre-back Sebastian Langkamp out of position.

Making the high-percentage play, Bittencourt distributed the ball to a wide-open Hannover substitute Jan Schlaudraff.

Bittencourt created a goal via an inswinging free-kick for Hannover centre-back/central midfielder Salif Sane.

Interchanging from the right to left wing, Bittencourt is a three-pronged threat having flashed the ability to make plays centrally. 

Driving forward against Freiburg, Bittencourt played in Hamburg's Hannover loanee Artjoms Rudnevs.

Bittencourt was central when he scored against Nurnberg and Freiburg.


Bittencourt Negatives

Griezmann is a complete scorer.

He accumulates tap-ins, scores from distance, can finish with either foot on both flanks and has a Chicharito-esque knack of being in the right place at the right time to head home the ball. 

Whereas, Bittencourt lacks decisiveness in front of goal. 

League OnlyAntoine GriezmannLeonardo Bittencourt
Shots Per Goal6.913.8
Shooting Accuracy %6039


Bottom Line

Despite being three years younger than Griezmann, 23, and with only one season of top-flight football, Bittencourt, 20, is better than Griezmann in two categories: dribbling and incisive passing. 

Bittencourt is part of Germany's next generation. 

With United manager Louis van Gaal in a win-now mentality, going for Griezmann, who is a better player than Bittencourt right now, makes sense. 

Though, Sociedad "have refused to negotiate a transfer of Griezmann with any club," per Tre Atkinson at Inside Spanish Football

Should United's front office pursue Bittencourt, one obstacle will be Borussia Dortmund.

Fearing Bittencourt may turn into a world-class footballer, his former club Dortmund can secure his services again, per Dortmund's official website: "BVB could re-sign the talented German-Brazilian midfielder due to a buy-back clause in his contract."

But if Dortmund pass on Bittencourt, he would be a viable alternative to Griezmann for United. 



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