With Raheem Sterling sold and Lazar Markovic sent out on a season-long loan from which he can't be recalled, Jordon Ibe has been Liverpool's sole wide attacker this year. As a result, Liverpool have on occasion ended up narrow up front by default rather than by choice This worked terrifically well against an expansive team like City who play a high line and prefer to build from the back, but has left the Reds looking less potent against sides comfortable with packing their central defensive zones, leaving fans to lament the lack of wide options in the squad.
Enter Sofiane Boufal. Having joined Lille for €3m in January after putting together a record of three goals and six assists in a thousand minutes for Ligue 2 side Angers, he continued his run of form in the French top division with another four goals and three assists in a similar number of minutes. This season has thus far yielded four goals - half of a struggling Lille side's league total - and no assists, despite creating a larger number of opportunities for his team mates than he did last year.
The Moroccan is equally comfortable on both the right and left flanks, and will cut inside or attack the touchline with commensurate ease. He couples an unconventional dribbling style with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for nutmegs, leading to an average of 4.5 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, the 2nd highest in Europe this year for players with over 1000 minutes. Despite rumours of individualistic play, the 22-year old creates chances nearly 50% more often than he takes a shot.
So are Liverpool interested? According to recently sacked Lille manager and absolute dreamboat, Herve Renard "English clubs are there, and he's a boy we could lose this winter.", with the Reds and Tottenham being the rumoured suitors. PSG are also supposedly sniffing around, and could provide stern competition for the Premier League duo. There has been no indication of price, but Angers are believed to be entitled to a percentage of whatever fee Lille end up receiving, which could drive the price up.
Now, the reason you're all here: nutmegs and eurotrance!