Tottenham Hotspur have jumped to the front of the queue to sign coveted Lille winger Sofiane Boufal after placing an alleged offer worth £16m for the Moroccan international.
Boufal is believed to be on the transfer wish lists of many of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all thought to be keen after seeing the versatile winger score 11 goals and create a further four in Ligue 1 this term.
Able to play on either flank or centrally, the 22-year-old looks set to be leaving Les Dogues in the summer and bearing the Lille-approved mark of a quality attacking-midfielder, he promises to be an excellent acquisition.
Hailing from the club that honed the talents of Eden Hazard, Dimitri Payet, Yohan Cabaye and Gervinho among others, potential Premier League purchasers can be confident in Boufal’s ability to deliver in England, but what type of player is he?
Dribbling his most obvious talent and he isn’t shy of putting his skills into practice, attempting to carry the ball on average of 4.3 times per match this season.
When he gets into the final third, his ability with the ball at his feet really comes to the fore; strong on either foot, he can go inside or outside, making it difficult for defenders to telegraph what he intends to do.
Similarly, an unwavering confidence in his dribbling prowess leads to him attempting to beat opponents in all areas of the pitch. While there are obvious risks attached to this attitude, it’s the perfect weapon for a team looking to counter-attack and get the ball up the pitch quickly.
Averaging 2.6 key passes per match, his game isn’t entirely about direct running either.
As his 11 goals suggests, he offsets this creativity with an invaluable knowledge of where the net is.
While these qualities are obviously worth paying the premium for, Boufal struggles with indiscipline, after being sent off twice and booked ten times in the French top flight this term.