Quick thinking, fleet footed and full of dynamism, AS Monaco’s signing of Wissam Ben Yedder is one littered with upside.
Having scored 70 goals and supplied 22 assists in 138 matches for Sevilla, he not only leaves the Andalusian outfit as an elite striker, but also as their most expensive sale. Joining Monaco for €40 million, which eclipses the €37 million that Sevilla received when they sold Dani Alves to Barcelona, this shows how highly regarded he is.
Now 29 and at the peak of his powers, the man who’s gunning for a place in France’s Euro 2020 squad should be given every opportunity to fulfill his ambitions at Monaco. Experienced and familiar with Ligue 1 having previously made 174 appearances for Toulouse before switching to Sevilla, he should be able to hit the ground running. “Today, people will be able to watch me more” he explained on his arrival.
“Someone who is coming to France, who already knows Ligue 1 a little bit, that’s nice for me. I am very happy because there are only positives here. I am really happy to be back in Ligue 1. It is a new challenge with new aims. I am going to try to continue to do what I know how to do.”
With Falcao departing for Galatasaray, Ben Yedder, and his fellow new offensive arrivals, will be expected to fill the void left by the Colombian. While he’ll lead the line in a very different way to Falcao, the uniquely skilled striker will unquestionably offer Leonardo Jardim’s plenty of impetus upfront.
Neat and tidy with the ball at his feet, the technically proficient French international’s work in possession sees him pass and dribble effectively. Able to link attacks slickly with some flicks, backheels or one touch passes, his combination play when dropping deep with his back to goal or when in and around the box is a real highlight.
Super one-two with Promes at the edge of the box
Two footed and with great awareness due to his head scanning, he’s also proven how he can slide coherent through balls in behind, switch the angle of attacks, break the lines with some penetrative vertical and diagonal passes or play some creative dinks over the top.
Lovely through ball after smartly dropping deep
Accompanying the aforementioned with his ball carrying, the diminutive frontman’s quite a handful here too. Boasting a sharp first touch and super tight ball control, this, in combination with his low centre of gravity and strength, ensures he’s a tough man to dispossess and outmuscle.
So powerful, agile and boasting a wicked change of pace and direction, he’s extremely good at weaving away from danger in close quarters. The fact he can also use his neat array of dribbling maneuvers, including feints, fake shots and passes, dummies and shimmies, only compounds issues for his adversaries. He can subsequently beat his man or gain separation to get shots and passes off from initially challenging situations.
One of those rare forwards who can both create and score, his finishing is at an extremely high level too, which his impressive goalscoring numbers throughout his career illustrate. Instinctive and able to score in a variety of different ways, he can score with lovely chipped finishes, quick snap shots with minimal back lift, clinical finishes when 1v1 with the keeper, smartly placed efforts into either corner, via some long range screamers and with some sharp tap ins from close range.
Clinical 1v1 finish to beat the keeper
Masterful volleyed finish
Brilliant chipped finish from a tight angle
Although his technical attributes are very impressive, his movement is just as eye-catching, with this aspect of his armoury providing him with the platform to get into so many promising areas.
A terrific runner in behind, he strategically targets any available spaces within the opposition backline to burst into. Cleverly angling and directing his surges to target the blindside of opponents, to exploit the gaps between defenders, when a foe gets caught ball watching or when an adversary gets drawn out, he’s so alert to openings.
Smart run between defenders
From diagonal runs in behind, piercing vertical bursts through the heart of the defence, tidy runs into the channels or knowing where best to move in transition phases, he typically tailors his runs brilliantly depending on the situation.
Excellently timed run in behind
Meanwhile, when it comes to runs inside the box, Ben Yedder does an outstanding job of streaming into the area to meet cutbacks and crosses ahead of his man. In addition, the way he holds his runs as the defence collapses deep and reads the ball’s velocity and trajectory rapidly enhances his value.
Crafty blindside run and finish
Losing markers expertly and ensuring he puts himself in promising scoring locations, Ben Yedder’s nous is something that’ll give Monaco plenty of attacking benefit.
By picking his moments concisely when to drop deep and make cunning runs to draw and pin markers away from space for teammates to use, these slightly less heralded features of his game are definitely vital for him and his team.
Forever probing to propel his team forward with his ability to score, create or threaten with his movement, the multifaceted 29-year-old’s numbers from last season, where he bagged 18 La Liga goals, demonstrate his quality. Per game last season he completed 5.7 touches inside the box pg, 2.3 shots pg, 1.73 dribbles pg, 1.21 progressive runs pg and 1.13 shot assists pg.
One of a string of exciting signings to arrive at Monaco this transfer window, the acquisition of the experienced maestro in Ben Yedder might just be the pick of the bunch.
With the elite marksman ready to help fire Monaco up the table and keen to prove he’s ready to be an integral figure for France, it’ll certainly be fascinating tracking his progress this campaign.