After securing the signing of five players already in the summer, Watford have set their sights on Lille attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal. The product of the Angers youth system has impressed in the Ligue 1 with Lille last season after his transfer from Angers. Making his debut at the age of 18, Boufal spent time in the Ligue 2 with his youth club and helped them win promotion back into the top division in 2014/15 season.
His performances attracted the interests of Lille who snapped him up in the January transfer window of 2014/15 season and since his transfer the Morocco international has been one of the most consistent players in the French top division. Watford are very interested in the player and so are Tottenham but The Hornets have made the first move submitting a bid which was rejected. The club would make an improved offer as they try to close the deal while Spurs could be also in the mix if they submit a bid of their own. Boufal, owing to his ability on the ball, has drawn comparisons to former Ligue 1 player of the year Eden Hazard and here’s a SWOT analysis of the talented attacker.
Boufal is a player who epitomizes all that a flair player should be. The 22-year old is an excellent dribbler, great crosser of the ball, an expert in set piece situations, efficient finisher and overall a totally creative player who can carve out chances out of nothing. The youngster is very versatile and can play anywhere across the attacking zone. His efficiency to perform in a number of positions offers great tactical flexibility for the manager of the team he plays for. Over the last 16 months, Boufal has also shown that he can be exceptionally consistent and his fearless attitude serves him well against the big oppositions as the player is never afraid to take his man on irrespective of his reputation.
Just like any the other young player with bags of potential and ability, Boufal’s biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. With the ability he possesses on the ball it’s hard for the manager to prohibit him from trying to beat his man on every occasion but he tends to overdo that very often and holds on to the ball longer than his teammates would like. This result in turnovers and the player has to improve his decision making a lot more as he continues to develop further.
A chance to come to the Premier League and test his efficiency against defenders of the most competitive league in the world is always something too good to turn down. Working under reputed managers in specialized setups would offer the player a better stage to develop his talent. Mazzarri wooed the world with his counter attacking Napoli and the Italian manager’s style of play would suit a player who likes to run at opponents and take players on.
The unforgiving nature of the Premier League would pose a serious threat to Boufal. The overall competitiveness of the league is very high and it would be a huge challenge for the attacking midfielder to keep up his levels of consistency week in week out for an entire season. Getting cramped up for space and getting less time on the ball would be a real test for the player and would test his ability and skills; the challenge would be far greater than what he has faced in Ligue 1 so far.