Nabil Fekir Caught in Career Limbo

Nabil Fekir Caught in Career Limbo
Lewis M
Lewis M
July 30, 2018

After a career-defining season at Olympique Lyonnais, Nabil Fekir finds himself stuck between two pretty favourable choices: remain at Lyon with Champions League football on the way or move across the Channel to a reignited Liverpool team under the charismatic Jürgen Klopp.

Fekir would be joining one of the most exciting teams in world football if he made the move, adding to Liverpool’s famous attack force of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and FIFA Men’s Player of the Year nominee Mohamed Salah. Despite finishing fourth last season, Klopp and co will probably enter this campaign as one of the favourites after last year’s blood and thunder style of play impressed so much plus some really smart buys in the transfer market.

If Fekir makes the decision to join the Merseyside team, Liverpool’s front four would strike fear into any defence in the world.

Read more: Allison Becker: What do Roma fans think of Liverpool’s new signing?

Transfer Saga of the Summer Still Ongoing

 

The regular season is all well and good, but nothing beats a great transfer saga and Nabil Fekir to Liverpool is no slouch. After months of speculation over the Frenchman’s career, it is expected that if he is going to go anywhere, it will be the red half of Merseyside. Chelsea and Arsenal both tried to throw their name into the hat with this one but now Fekir has reportedly handed in a transfer request and told Lyon’s Chairman Jean-Michel Aulas that he wants the move to happen.

Every journalist, fan and spectator tries to pitch in with their leads, tips and opinions during these debacles but what can be pretty confidently deduced is that Aulas really wants to keep his star player and will only let him go for a pretty sweet offer. Aulas’ stubbornness could cause this deal to fall away but reportedly Fekir’s camp are still confident the move will happen.

Liverpool have also brought in the possibility of signing Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund into the conversation should the Fekir deal crash. However, some fans believe this has been to force Aulas’ hand and let the Fekir deal go through as OL could face missing out on a pricey transfer fee.

There is still much to be discussed between the two clubs, but the general feel is that Fekir will be a Red before the end of the transfer window, something extremely exciting for Liverpool and Premier League fans alike.

The doubt over this deal is not to do with Fekir’s talent, that is undoubtable, but more so the financial side of it. So, what would the Lyon-born forward bring to Liverpool?

Quick, Skilful and Clinical

Fekir was very much a pivotal part of Lyon’s three-pronged attack last season which carried them to within two points of second place in Ligue 1. Playing alongside any two of Memphis Depay, Bertrand Traoré and Mariano Diaz with the talented young duo of Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar behind them; this helped Lyon score the second highest amount of goals just behind the champions Paris Saint-Germain. Each player played their part with everyone performing outstandingly together as a team rather than as individuals and this is undoubtedly what Lyon will not want to lose. OL’s formula worked last season and with each player a year older with more Ligue 1 experience, especially Ndombele and Aouar, Lyon could do something really special this season, seriously being in the title winning conversation rather than just being a name to put beside PSG.

A product of the Lyon youth academy, Fekir made his debut for les Gones in 2013 and after a solid season of 11 appearances aged 20, Fekir went from minor inclusion to first team starter in a matter of 12 months. The 2014/15 season saw him make 34 league appearances, scoring 13 and assisting 12. Fekir’s pace and dribbling made him a horrible burden to deal with; jinking one way then managing to quickly switch to the other and get a shot off.

After a disappointing 2016/17 season in terms of goals and assists, the Frenchman slid right back into form last year having his most successful campaign for goals with 23 in all competitions plus eight assists. He would slide into the Liverpool attack so seamlessly due to the similarity in styles of play between the two clubs and could be the final piece of the puzzle for the Reds as they aim for the title.

Read more: Premier League 2018/19 Outright Betting Tips and Predictions: Title Winners and Top 4 Predictions

Liverpool and Lyon Share More Than Just an Initial

As has been mentioned, on the pitch Liverpool and Lyon are very similar beasts. Both are fairly young squads with a flooded attack which often overwhelms the opposition with their pace. Both also have fairly young managers who prefer to win a nine-goal thriller rather than defend a scrappy 1-0 and both clubs have good title winning history behind them despite neither claiming a major tournament win in recent years.

Their aims for this season are also very similar with each club wanting to break into that top two bracket of the league table. Liverpool need a centre back and an extra attacker to achieve this. Lyon also need another defender plus not to lose any of their best players who are currently in the shop window after last year’s performances if progress is to be made.

Fekir has a large choice ahead of him regarding his career but on paper neither will work out too badly for the attacking midfielder. Liverpool have one of the best squads going into the new season plus great momentum following their Champions League success and many tip them to finish within the top two. Lyon might not have had the best transfer period compared to the other clubs around them, but they still have every member of that fantastic starting 11 from last season. If they can hold on to them for the last stretch of the transfer window, then they could push on from finishing 3rd last season and keeping Nabil Fekir will be so crucial for that. In French minds this transfer is already off, but the Liverpool camp see it as only just beginning.

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