The African Cup of Nations has long been renowned as a fertile scouting ground for European sides to scout potential editions to their sides during the January transfer period, although we have come to see lesser known quantities raise to the top of wanted lists across the fraternity after a few impressive showings in Africa’s greatest football showpiece, we often get to witness some of the more famous names prove that they are amongst the Continents elite talents; this 30th edition of the Afcon has produced a great mixture of both and we at GSV are delighted to introduce you to a few of those lads and the sides they would be suited for in our Attracting Attention feature.
Yacine Brahimi is a creative midfield player who has already turned his fair share of heads with his impressive displays at domestic level, yet it has been his dominance in a high pressing and hardworking Algeria side that has seen his name return to the top of a few elite level scouts “highly rated” lists during the last few months; his dynamic passing game and industrious style of play denote that he is perfectly suited for modern football in that engine room. Porto are known to invest in talented players, with great potential, at a young age and make a handsome profit off selling the lads to bigger sides after just a couple of campaigns in Portugal. Brahimi seemed to fit that criteria perfectly and its was no surprise to see the Portuguese giants splash out €6,5m to win his signature from Spanish side Granada FC after he had begun to attract a considerable amount of interest from some of Europe’s top sides. Granada FC made a healthy profit off a player they had signed from Stade Rennes for €4,5m a season earlier after he had spent a season on loan in Spain the season prior to that.
The former France youth international was highly rated as a youngster after coming through the ranks of the highly esteemed Clairefontaine academy and the Paris born lad was tipped by many to go onto become a full French international after amassing a considerable number of caps for France from u/16 to u/21 level. Since making his debut for Algeria in 2013 in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Benin, Brahimi has developed into a regular fixture for The Desert Warriors and the lad now forms part of an exciting and industrious engine room that can develop into one of Africa’s most feared midfield combinations for the next two football cycles and lead Algeria to a new level of success.
The Little Magician is now a player that seems to be on the cusp of another big move, one that could net FC Porto the handsome profit they are fond of making off every deal they make. With his current market value sitting at €8m and 3 years still to run on his current deal, FC Porto will be eager to set an asking price in the region of €15m for any side enquiring about the availability of the talented attacking midfielder. Brahimi seems like a good fit for a league where well balanced attacking midfielders are regarded as commodities worth being converted; a league like the English Premier League seems tailor-made for a player of his calibre, and there are a few sides that have been linked with his signature in the past. Liverpool FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and Everton FC all seem like a good fit for a player that offers great offensive value and a high degree of defensive acumen in midfield.
With Steven Gerrard confirmed to be leaving Anfield at the end of the season and gaffer Brendan Rodgers experimenting with a more adventurous formation and a style of play that implores the side to retain possession very well and create an abundant amount of attacking opportunities, Brahimi seems to be the calibre of footballer they ought to be targeting as an addition to a side that will be short of a midfield general come June. Brahimi would allow Liverpool to play Phillipe Coutinho further forward where he can impact proceedings even more and allow for a greater degree of balance centrally as Yacine would play alongside a more robust ball-winning midfielder like Emre Can and add more quality to that engine room.
Spurs are known to splash the cash on talented lads that have often been unable to cement their places in the starting unit for a myriad of reasons, yet Brahimi would be a the type of footballer they have been lacking for a few seasons; versatile and creative with the engine to contribute well on both ends of the field with ease, Brahimi would form a formidable central midfield double-pivot partnership with his international teammate Nabil Bentaleb for Spurs, a partnership that could grow even further in the coming seasons.
Roberto Martinez is a gaffer that enjoys watching his side play a good brand of attacking football while remaining defensively solid at all times, with his side lacking a touch of quality this season, one would think that Brahimi would be an excellent addition for The Toffees as the aim to consistently play at that high octane level they thrive off playing on. With Kevin Mirallas rumoured to be on his way out in the not too distant future and the bench already looking pretty desperate for a touch of quality, Everton are a side that could use a versatile and skilled pass master in their side to help elevate their playing standard even further.
There should be no shortage of suitors for the Paris born Algerian playmaker, and with FC Porto known to always have a price for their talent, one cannot help but think its only a matter of time before Yacine Brahimi is on the move yet again and finally getting a chance to display his skills at one of the bigger sides in some of Europe’s more converted leagues. The time is right for the lad to move now, as he enters the peak years of his career and starts to fully grasp his responsibilities as a midfield general that can play at the highest level of the game and become a true global star in his own right.
Name: Yacine Brahimi
DoB: February 8th, 1990 (24)
PoB: Paris, France
Caps & Goals: 14 caps, 4 goals
Position/s: Advanced Playmaker, Attacking Midfielder, Winger
Club: FC Porto
Market Value: €8m