Manchester United, Liverpool and Barcelona all want Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder… but who is the French striker who honed his talent in futsal, delivered a masterclass at Old Trafford and is only getting better with age?
- Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United are all keen on Wissam Ben Yedder
- The French striker has been impressive in front of goal for Monaco this season
- When at Sevilla, Ben Yedder scored twice to knock Man United out of Europe
- He has never played for one of Europe’s giants but is getting better with age
Wissam Ben Yedder will become one of the most sought-after transfer targets in Europe when the transfer window opens after lockdown.
The 29-year-old French international is set to leave Monaco with a number of clubs including Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal showing interest in the £40million forward.
Ben Yedder is that rarest of breeds, an A-list talent who has never played for any of the biggest clubs. It means the average Premier League fan knows relatively little about him – Sportsmail attempts to fill the gaps.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal are all keen on Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder
WHO IS WISSAM BEN YEDDER?
He’s a striker, small in stature but tremendously fast, skilful and with an eye for goal.
After developing his talent in futsal, his professional career has seen him play for Toulouse, Sevilla and Monaco, and he’s won eight caps for world champions France, scoring twice.
FUTSAL? THAT’S AN UNUSUAL PATHWAY INTO PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL.
It’s more common in South America where superstars like Neymar credit their quick feet and control on playing small-sided futsal games in their formative years.
Ben Yedder did the same in Europe, and won two caps for the French futsal team. But he also had the strength to transfer those skills into 11-a-side games and was offered a chance at Toulouse having originally started at fourth division Alfortville.
Ben Yedder started out playing futsal but signed with Toulouse after impressing at 11-a-side
BEN YEDDER STATS 19/20
HOW DID HE END UP AT MONACO?
Sevilla signed him in 2016 and after scoring 66 goals in three seasons, Monaco paid the £35million buy-out clause in 2019 to bring him back to the French League. He appears to be one of those players who improves with age.
He scored 19 times for Monaco before the current league shutdown, forming a decent little-and-large partnership with Islam Slimani, who is on loan from Leicester. Both of them scored in Monaco’s 3-3 draw away to PSG
Sevilla signed him in 2016 and after scoring 66 goals in three seasons, Monaco paid £35m
COULD HE DO IT IN ENGLAND?
Lots of European clubs are sniffing around Ben Yedder including Madrid giants Real and Atletico. But several Premier League big-hitters think his speed and tenacity would make him a success here.
There is strong evidence to support that point of view. In 2017/18, he scored five times in three matches against Liverpool and Manchester United.
OLD TRAFFORD IS TO HIS LIKING THEN
Definitely, he single-handedly knocked United out of the Champions League in 2018 which proved the beginning of the end for Jose Mourinho. Ben Yedder came off the bench to score both goals in a 2-1 Sevilla win at Old Trafford.
For the first, he showed terrific movement before cutting inside Eric Bailly and placing a low finish into David De Gea’s bottom right-hand corner. The second was a fox-in-the box header from a corner.
In the group stages he also scored home and away against Liverpool. Sevilla reached the quarter-finals that season before narrowly going out to Bayern Munich.
He single-handedly knocked United out of the Champions League at Old Trafford in 2018
WHY HAVEN’T WE HEARD MORE FROM HIM ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE?
He chose to represent France, where he was born and raised, rather than Tunisia where his family came from, and that has meant competing with the likes of Kylian Mbappe for a place.
He didn’t go to the World Cup which France won but has broken into the team since then and helped them Les Bleus qualify for Euro 2020. He might have been one of the big stars this summer if the tournament was taking place.
He has broken into the France team since 2018 World Cup and helped them reach Euro 2020
LIKE A FINE WINE, HE SEEMS TO BE GETTING BETTER AND BETTER
He improved his goal tally every season in La Liga and might have broken his previous record of 29 had Monaco been able to complete 2019/20. He is currently the league’s joint-top scorer with Mbappe even though Monaco are mid-table. His composure in front of goal has never been better.
Significantly, Ben Yedder seems aware that having been a slow burner, the best of his career may still lie ahead and he isn’t afraid of showing ambition.
‘Barcelona inquired several times,’ he let slip in an interview with a French magazine this year. With Monaco regarded as a selling club, he may get his wish to join one of Europe’s elite soon.
Ben Yedder was Ligue 1’s joint-top scorer with Kylian Mbappe before the coronavirus shutdown
WHICH CLUBS ARE IN THE RUNNING?
Manchester United and Liverpool know first-hand what Ben Yedder can do and both clubs want to add to their strike options. Arsenal will also be in the hunt if they lose Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona. Barca themselves bid for Ben Yedder last season as cover when Luis Suarez was injured.
Manchester City are also light up front with only Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus as proper No9s and the asking price for Ben Yedder will be attractive as they try to stay within FFP rules.
French newspaper L’Equipe have also thrown Real Madrid and Atletico into the mix though Ben Yedder is a very different type of player to Real’s current centre-forward Karim Benzema. Erling Haaland would seem a better fit for them, unless Zinedine Zidane is going to alter tactically.
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