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Ligue 1

Gouiri: "new Benzema" attracts attention after Nice move

The 20-year-old France youth international has been tipped for a senior call-up in March and a summer move after bagging 10 goals since leaving Lyon.

Nice's French forward Amine Gouiri (R) controls the ball during the French L1 football match between OGC Nice and Angers SCO at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on February 7, 2021. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP)

Lyon’s youth academy has produced some excellent players in recent years, the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Corentin Tolisso, Nabil Fekir and Samuel Umtiti emerging from the ranks of the Ligue 1 side and going on to represent France at senior level. Now, there is plenty of excitement being generated by 20-year-old forward Amine Gouiri, the latest talent to break out after an apprenticeship at the new Decines training complex and a player who has been likened to another former Lyon star, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.

Gouiri was forced to leave Lyon and seek his fortune elsewhere last summer after failing to nail down a place in Rudi Garcia’s first-team plans and moved to Nice for a fee of €5m, which in retrospect is looking like a bargain for the coastal club. The forward, a France under-21 international, has bagged 10 goals and added three assists already this season, scoring twice on his debut against Lens. That has not gone unnoticed across Europe, with Madrid pondering a move for the forward last month. 

Gouiri a mirror image of Benzema

Comparisons with Benzema are almost inevitable but Gouiri’s style is very similar to the Real Madrid forward. A very technical forward, Gouiri is comfortable on either foot, likes to drop deep and create openings away from the area and can hit a cross-field pass and has a deft touch with his instep that calls to mind the early version of Benzema who came through the ranks at Lyon before catching the eye of Real Madrid. He is also one of Ligue 1 leaders in attempted dribbles.

Observers in France have suggested that Gouiri could already be on the verge of a big move in the summer with Nice unlikely to be in European competition next season (unless they win the Coupe de France). In the meantime, Algeria and France are both keen to cap the 20-year-old at senior level and it will be little surprise if he receives the call from Didier Deschamps ahead of the next round of World Cup qualifiers in March.


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