Said Benrahma has emerged as one of the stand out players from the Championship this season and is set for one final swansong.
The Brentford attacker has formed one third of the fabled ‘BMW’ triumvirate up front at Griffin Park alongside Ollie Watkins and Bryan Mbeumo.
And while his strike partners have certainly enjoyed their fair share of coverage, it is Benrahma who really makes the Bees tick.
Fulham stand between their west London rivals and the Premier League in the most valuable game in world football on Tuesday.
Benrahma was at his magisterial best against Swansea in the play-off semi-finals, with Brentford fans hoping the clash at Wembley will not be his last in the red and white stripes.
With a host of Premier League clubs reportedly interested and ready to pounce if Brentford fail to get past the Whites, Tuesday’s game takes on an extra level of importance.
Below talkSPORT.com gives an in-depth insight into all you need to know about the in-demand playmaker…
What’s the gossip?
Aston Villa will reportedly hand Dean Smith £100million to spend in the transfer window this summer, with Benrahma his top target.
The Mirror claim the winger is wanted by his former Brentford boss having tried to bring him to Villa Park during the January transfer window.
Although the winger has told the Daily Mail he wishes to play in the top flight with Brentford, the chance to work under Smith again could prove too good to turn down.
However, The Sun claim Leeds United are also interested in Benrahma and that Marcelo Bielsa wants to bring him to Elland Road.
The forward, who has struck 17 times and provided nine assists so far this season, has also attracted the attention of Chelsea boss Frank Lampard – who is prepared to go to war with Leeds for him.
Arsenal have also been credited with an interest in the player, although it remains to be seen what funds they will have left with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still yet to sign a new deal.
SAID BENRAHMA – 2019/20 STATS
The winger is a direct and dangerous proposition for any defence
Name: Said Benrahma
Current Team: Brentford
Shirt Number: 10
Positions: Attacking midfielder (left/right)
Age: 24 years old (10-08-1995)
Key passes (per game): 2.2
Dribbles (per games): 3
Club career so far
Benrahma’s career started in his native Algeria with NRB Bethioua, before joining Nice in 2013 under former Southampton and Leicester City boss Claude Puel.
The arrival of Lucien Favre at Nice meant loan spells away for the winger, who played at Ligue 1 side Angers and then dropped down for temporary stints with Ligue 2 sides Ajaccio and Chateauroux.
In 2018, Brentford signed the winger from Nice for a reported £2.7m and he scored 11 goals – despite a nasty ankle injury ruling him out before the season’s climax.
How much is he likely to cost?
According to reports, a bid of £25m will be required by any interested parties in order to take the 24-year-old away from Brentford.
However, this figure could well fluctuate significantly depending on whether or not the club can get past Fulham in Tuesday’s Championship play-off final.
Benrahma made his international debut for Algeria in September 2015 against Senegal, but then found himself ostracised from the international scene.
It was not until 2019 when he won his second cap when his performances at Griffin Park – scoring nine goals in 14 matches – saw him called up to the squad for a Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
He was selected in the preliminary squad for the tournament in Egypt last summer, but was forced to pull out due to injury.
What is being said about him?
“He could nutmeg a mermaid” – Sam Saunders, Brentford B assistant coach
“He’s a big influence. For me he’s a quality player with top skills but also finishing skills. We actually worked very hard with him to arrive in the box at the right situations.
“In there when he’s turning and running at people – oof, I don’t want to defend against him! He’s starting to set up the other players even more because that’s the next level for his game.” – Thomas Frank, Brentford head coach
“He’s 100% good enough for the Premier League. He will frustrate on occasion, but you get that with a lot of these maverick, flair players.
“You just have to look at the end product: there are a lot of players who look like him, but don’t provide goals or assists and just look flashy. In the case of them I’d be really wary.
“But he marries [the flair] with end product: 24 goal involvements last season – ten goals, 14 assists. I think he would score and make goals in the top flight, no problem.” – Adrian Clarke, former Arsenal defender.
How will he fit in?
The Whites secured promotion to the Premier League by winning the Championship last summer and Marcelo Bielsa wants attacking reinforcements.
Pablo Hernandez is not getting any younger, so creativity will be what Benrahma would be tasked with providing.
The Algerian could thrive under the management of ‘El Loco’ and the Whites certainly have funds after their promotion.
Frank Lampard has worked aggressively in the transfer window to already transform their attack for next season.
With Willian set to follow Pedro out of the door, attacking options on the wings are looking somewhat scarce.
Christian Pulisic is the undoubted star of the team, yet he could be pushed by Benrahama, with Callum Hudson-Odoi providing competition for Hakim Ziyech on the far side.
A reported £100m transfer war chest could be opened for Benrhama, regardless of whether or not Brenford secure promotion.
Dean Smith is a huge fan of the star and wants to secure signings to convince Jack Grealish he should stay at Villa Park.
By shifting the captain inside behind a centre forward, it could improve Villa’s lack of cutting edge and take the burden off Grealish.
West Ham United
The Hammers enjoyed a strong end to the season after the restart having initially struggled under Manuel Pellegrini.
David Moyes has watched a number of targets from the Championship personally and is a fan of the ‘Algerian Messi’.
He would offer some balance to left flank with Jarrod Bowen excelling on the right.
Mikel Arteta’s lack of funds this summer has been much talked about, although he could well dip into the Championship market.
Provided Brentford do not beat Fulham, Benrahma could get his Premier League under the Spaniard in order to facilitate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners captain currently plays on the left, but signing the 24-year-old would allow him to play in his preferred position up front as a striker.
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