3.1 Key Passes, 4.1 Dribbles Per Game: Why This Frenchman Is What Manchester United Need This January

The crisis that currently looms Old Trafford is eating Manchester United up. It’s all a well comprehended mess right now and Louis van Gaal is feeling the heat, with speculation regarding his future almost non stop. It was inevitable considering the sort of football United were adhering to and how Lady Luck was shining brightly onto them before all of this came to the fore. It was imminent before it actually started happening and it isn’t a surprise that Louis van Gaal is being grilled. And all that’s happening due to the absence of a single kind of a player- a player with pace.

It’s been all around the media that United need a player who has a blistering burst of pace and is courageous enough to take the opposition on and beat them with his acceleration and pace. One such player is Lille’s Sofiane Boufal.

Currently just 22 years old, Boufal plies his trade with French side LOSC Lille. Boufal joined Federic Antonetti’s side this past summer, after a low key move from 2nd division side Angers. And since joining, the little man has been on fire.

He has racked up five goals in all competitions this season, apart from a single assist and his stellar showings have allowed him in attracting attention from clubs such as Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester City too. From my point of view, I’ve got to admit that this lad is one of the few young speedsters in the world , who I think has something special in them.

A winger by trade, Boufal predominantly plays on the left wing but can play as a striker, number ten or on the right flank too. But the left side of the pitch is where he really shines.

Boufal has got very quick, slick feet. His pace can take one’s breath away and leave defenders in tatters. The very first skill that he performs in the video is just out of this work, to be honest and very few players in this world can actually perform that with so much perfection. He twists and turns four or five times to go past a defenders and the finish is just as exquisite. Boufal completes 66 percent of his take ons, which is very good and executes 4.1 dribbles per game.

Not just pace and acceleration, but Boufal has been just as efficient when playing with others on the goal, rather than playing himself in on goal with the help of pace and trickery. Boufal has created as many as 46 chances this season, which is double the chances Sadio Mane has created this season- 26. Boufal makes 3.1 key passes per game, which again is very impressive.

The 22 year old has a commendable vision and knows how to pick out passes from midfield areas for the forward accompanying players. Even in pressure situations, the diminutive wingman can find the man he wants.

Despite of a small frame, Boufal is agile enough to escape his marker and go past players, leaving them spell bound. Although, the lad has to improve a bit on his physicality a tad bit but he’s got something special in him.

Although, United need a player like him, who is complete in every sense but I still think someone like Karim Bellarabi from Bayer Leverkusen will make more sense. He’s more experienced and is more physical and strong than Boufal. The Bundesliga is slightly less physical than the Premier League and Bellarabi is some who has a good burst of pace and creates a good amount of chances too. Although, his stats aren’t as vibrant as that of Boufal but Bellarabi looks more capable of being a United player right now, or being exposed to an upgrade.

Boufal needs to prove himself completely in the Ligue 1 right now. He’s a truly special talent and one of the best youngsters in Europe in his position, after someone like Anthony Martial or Ross Barkley but a move right now to a club as big as United would be an upgrade he needs a season later.

(Stats via Squawka.com)



Written by Kaustubh Pandey


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