Football has evolved as a game over the years and the current game has seen the rise of attacking full-backs. The likes of Roberto Carlos and Dani Alves were standout players in their generation due to their unique ability to attack.
In the modern game, these legends have inspired a whole new generation of players. Marcelo for Real Madrid and Jordi Alba for Barcelona are two excellent examples of players who did this constantly over the last decade and more.
Teams now set up their squads and formations in such a way so they can get the best out of these attacking full-backs. Managers need to allow tactical setups where their full-backs can join the attack to add more teeth. Keeping this in mind, let's take a look at some left-backs that clubs should target this summer.
#5 Sergio Gomez
Sergio Gomez is possibly the least-known face on this list. However, he could be in demand this summer and over the next few years as well. He came through Barca's La Masia academy, where he was deployed as a left-winger or in attacking midfield. He continued in the same role in Borussia Dortmund and Huesca before joining Anderlecht in Belgium. Under Vincent Kompany's management, Gomez was transformed into a left-back.
In the Juliper Pro League in the recently concluded season, Gomez scored five goals and provided 11 assists. His creative numbers are excellent with 4.42 crosses and 1.22 key passes per 90. He also won Anderlecht's 'Player of the Season' award.
#4 Owen Wijndal
It is not regular for a 22-year-old to captain a club. But that is exactly what AZ Alkmaar skipper Owen Wijndal has been doing. He is an attacking minded left-back who is coming off yet another impressive season. He ended the season with 10 assists for Alkmaar.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Ajax are looking to sign the player this summer.
He is an excellent crosser of the baller. He is also capable of playing on either flank. The 22-year-old is an aggressive defender who is not afraid of physical tussles.
#3 Alejandro Grimaldo
Like Sergio Gomez, Alejandro Grimaldo also came through the ranks at La Masia. He failed to get a chance to prove himself in Barca's first team and ended up joining Benfica, where he has become a regular feature. He impressed in the Champions League and finished the recently concluded season with five goals and five assists.
He is a smart dribbler and is also excellent with set pieces. His creative numbers are solid at 0.31 expected assists and 1.47 key passes per 90. He also makes 2.41 interceptions per 90.
#2 Borna Sosa
Borna Sosa has arguably been Stuttgart's best player over the last couple of years. The Croatian chipped in with one goal and eight assists in the recently concluded Bundesliga season. His creative spark is excellent and it helped Stuttgart escape relegation last season.
He is solid with his defensive skills but his crossing and passing attributes are what set him apart. Sosa manages 2.2 key passes and 3.71 shot-creating actions per 90. He has racked up 4.9 crosses per 90 as well. The Crotian defender could soon move to a big European club.
#1 David Raum - Manchester United targeting the left-back
David Raum showed stellar form for Germany in the U21 Euros last season. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength. The left-back racked up three goals and 11 assists in the 2021-22 season.
He plays for Hoffenheim, where the system is set to get the best out of the 24-year-old left-back. He took full advantage of it by making dangerous runs into the final third and creating a flurry of chances.
He had an assist rate of 0.36 and an expected assist rate of 0.31 in the recently concluded season. Raum also provided 2.61 key passes and 2.41 passes into the penalty area per 90.
His crossing numbers stand at 5.94 per 90, of which 1.76 are into the penalty area. The left-back also created 4.18 shot-creating actions and 0.59 goal-creating actions per 90. These numbers put him in the 99th percentile of all left-backs in Europe in terms of attacking stats, with Manchester United interested in his signature.