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According to reports from Portuguese outlet O Jogo, Tottenham Hotspur are interested in signing FC Porto attacker Yacine Brahimi.
The 27-year old has been a consistent performer for the Portuguese club for years now and has been attracting interest across Europe for a quite a while now. And reportedly Tottenham have also joined the bandwagon of the clubs wanting to move for him, along with Everton and West Ham United.
Brahimi did not enjoy the best of the seasons last time around for his club, finishing with 7 goals and 4 assists from 31 games. While that is a decent return, his past performances have raised expectations on him, which he wasn’t able to completely fulfil last time around. Yet, Tottenham, who are keen on strengthening their wide areas, are keen upon signing him.
With interest in him peaking, let’s take a closer look at who Yacine Brahimi really is and what makes him an enticing prospect.
Born in Paris, France, to Algerian parents, on 8 February 1990, Brahimi started off his footballing youth career with local club with ASB Montreuil. Having spent four years there, he moved onto CO Vincennios. With his talent impressing people, Brahimi was selected to join the famed Clairefontaine academy in order to further his development. During his stint with the Clairefontaine academy, he also had a chance to train with Paris Saint-Germain.
Following his tenure with the Clairefontaine academy, many French and European clubs sought him, but Brahimi signed a youth contract with Rennes in 2006.
Having won several trophies with the U-16 and the U-18 sides, Brahimi signed his first professional contract with the club in 2008. Despite signing a contract, the talented winger wasn’t guaranteed of a first-team place and spent the following season with the reserve team, competing in the fourth-tier of French football. In the summer of 2009, Brahimi was sent out on loan to Ligue2 side Clermont Foot, which is where he made his professional debut on August 7, 2009. He finished the season with an impressive return of 8 goals and 2 assists in 34 Ligue2 games.
In August 2010, he made his debut for Rennes, in a Ligue1 game against Lille, following which he signed a new four-year deal with the club. He ended the season with 6 goals and 3 assists in 26 games in all competitions.
Following a below average 2011/12 campaign, where he just scored 3 and set up 2 from 28 games, Brahimi was sent out on loan to Spanish side Granada the next year, with an option to make the move permanent. Despite not having that great a debut season in the La Liga, where he just registered 2 assists in 27 games, Granada made the winger’s signing a permanent one in the summer of 2013. Despite returns of 3 goals and 3 assists from 35 La Liga outings in the 2013/14 season, his performances were so impressive that he was awarded with the LFP African Player of the Season award.
FC Porto snapped him in the summer of 2014 for £5.1 million, on a five-year deal, which also included a £40million release clause. He started off his debut season in Portugal on a strong note, finishing with 13 goals and 10 assists from 42 games and followed it up with 9 strikes and 10 assists in the subsequent season. Last campaign, he managed 7 goals and 4 assists in 31 games.
Brahimi has represented the French national team in all youth groups and had a particularly impressive campaign with the France U-19 side in the U-19 European Championships. However, having represented the France U-21s in 2010, the winger decided to switch his allegiances to the Algerian national team in February 2013. He made his debut a month later against Benin and till date has made 36 international appearances, scoring 7 games.
A natural winger, who also can play in a central attacking midfield role with equal comfort, Brahimi has made his name as an unpredictable wide-man with great pace, strength and strong dribbling abilities.
Tremendously gifted technically, the 27-year old backs himself to the hilt to take on his man and more often than not comes out on top. He has a strong and sturdy frame that allows him to hold up the ball in the attacking third of the pitch. Throughout his career, he has shown that he can score goals regularly and can create chances for his teammates with neat inter-plays in the final third too. And his versatility of being able to play on either flank or through the middle as well does add a great value to the team.
Not the strongest in the air though, the Algerian international also tends to be a little wayward in front of goal on occasions.
Brahimi has a contract with Porto until the summer of 2019 and has plenty of top level experience behind him as well. The 27-year old has a £40million release clause in his contract, but Abola reported last month that he would cost Tottenham €30million.
Spurs need reinforcements in wide areas, no doubt. At 27 years of age, Brahimi does seem to have his best years ahead of him. However, his goal-scoring record and assists tally in the past three years has been on a decline and that is something that Tottenham should be taking note of, before deciding to invest in the Algerian international.