Leeds United could well have been given a significant boost in this summer’s transfer market following yesterday’s Championship play-off final.
With Brentford slumping to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Fulham, you would expect the Bees to be in a much weaker position when it comes to hanging on to their best talents in the coming weeks.
Already we are seeing Ollie Watkins being linked with a whole host of clubs now that his £18 million release clause has come into effect, while a report from the Mirror on Wednesday reiterated the Leeds’ desire to pursue a swoop for Said Benrahma.
At a reported £25 million, he wouldn’t come cheap, but what a player we would be landing if we can pull it off.
Whoscored ranked him as the best player in the Championships this season, with an average match rating for 7.51.
The 24-year-old made 3.85 more dribbles than Jack Harrison per 90 minutes this season, as well as having a higher shot accuracy rate, a higher xG, and a higher pass completion rate, as per Wyscout.
But it’s when he has the ball at his feet and he is running at people that he is really at his most dangerous.
Take his performance in the 3-0 win over Swansea City back in October as an example.
The wide man completed seven out of his eight attempted dribbles at a success rate of 88%.
But the most interesting thing about his touch map, as shown above, is just how many of those runs come in genuinely dangerous areas.
Three are in or around the box, while another two are in the final third.
Take the example above.
Benrahma drives into the box at pace in spite of the Swansea players surrounding him, and he only ever seems to have one priority in mind – beating his man and delivering the cross.
But Benrahma isn’t simply a pace merchant.
As the wide man approaches his man, he sells him a lightning quick step-over and a drop of they shoulder before changing directly completely and leaving him for dead.
You can see from the image above how blatantly he bamboozles his man, so much so that he ends up facing entirely the wrong direction.
The eventual cross is defended well, but the individual play leading up to it is superb.
And Benrahma can score too.
Take his goal against Derby County in July as an example.
Cutting in off the left wing, he fires in a wonderful whipped effort from distance.
Travelling at pace and having to avoid the challenge of his man, to then generate the power and accuracy that Benrahma does is absolutely top class.
It’s a sublime finish, and one worthy of gracing any of the top leagues in Europe.
£25 million would be a huge fee for Leeds to fork out, make no mistake, but when the talent on offer is as obviously special as Benrahma is, then you would be seriously tempted to argue that it’s worth the investment.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay delivers Bielsa update, expects Leeds to confirm major loan signing this week