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Said Benrahma: Profile of high-flying Algerian Brentford winger

Brentford are amongst a number of clubs chasing promotion via the playoffs in the Championship this season. The Bees currently sit in 4th courtesy of their prolific attack, sharing the title of the division’s top scorers with 2nd place West Brom. Said Benrahma, along with forward Ollie Watkins and winger Bryan Mbeumo, have been crucial to the club’s success. The trio have contributed to 46 of the club’s 64 goals so far. Once again, the club’s impressive transfer policy is paying its dividends. Of course Neal Maupay now at Brighton was signed from the Greater London club.

The Algerian winger in particular has stood out. A stunning 20 goals and 21 assists across his two seasons in the second tier have made him one of the league’s most exciting, as well as prolific, players to watch. As a result of his outstanding performances this year, he has been linked to a few Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Leicester, and Newcastle.

The Foxes in particular, according to a LeicestershireLive are expected to be active in the transfer window. Well, assuming it opens in the summer.

Said Benrahma – Style of Play

Said Benrahma has been dubbed the “Algerian Messi” for his dribbling ability. While seemingly every country has their own Messi or Ronaldo, the title might actually have some merit in the Nice academy graduate’s case. His ability on the ball is truly outstanding and has proved a useful tool in unlocking Championship defenses in 2019/20. 3.1 dribbles per game says it all.

The 24 year old plays primarily on the right, but has also made appearances on the left. He tends to drift inside, playing very narrow and keeping the ball glued to his right foot. He is outstanding with the ball in tight spaces, and doesn’t let the ball get taken from him, regardless of how many defenders surround him. Benrahma’s feet are phenomenally quick and he can use this to suck in defenders before quickly getting the ball to a teammate. Occasionally, he may hold onto the ball for a second too long. Yet most of the time, he releases is in good time.

He also has a good centre of gravity and enough strength to hold off defenders while staying on his feet. The three time capped Algerian is a quick thinker in and around the box, with the ability to create that little bit of space for a shot. He is enough of a goal threat to be taken seriously, especially if given space around the box. You don’t score 10 goals in the Championship from the wing without having good end product.

On top of that, 2.2 key passes per game highlights his ability as a creator. Benrahma is often the creative spark of this Brentford side and really contributes significantly as a playmaker. Though he has laid on 7 fewer assists in 2019/20, there’s hardly been a drop off in his underlying numbers.

Improvements that could be made

While the Algerian presents quite the attacking package, he is not without flaws. He is guilty of dribbling too much and plays so narrow that he can box himself and his team in. This ends up reducing the attacking options in the final third and leaving massive gaps on the wing for opponents to exploit on the counterattack if they can move the ball quickly enough.

The lack of width in his play also means that crosses from his wing are essentially nonexistent. Play also tends to slow down when Benrahma is involved, as he wants to dribble or take a touch before doing anything else. This can be a real detriment to a team looking to spring a quick counter or circulate the ball in the final third, as there isn’t much one touch play in his game.

Is he ready for the Premier League?

Said Benrahma is an intriguing prospect for any Premier League side, as his offensive skills could tempt many sides to make a move. His dribbling ability and goal threat are well established, with his time at Brentford showing that he can work well with other attacking players to form an excellent attacking unit.

Said Benrahma in action for Brentford

His lack of width would presumably mean a move to a more central position at some point. A position change that would benefit his existing game, putting emphasis on working in tight and narrow spaces. Benrahma could prove to be an excellent addition for a side looking for more firepower. Yet if Brentford get promoted, he may be inclined to stay with them for their debut Premier League season…

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