AS Monaco’s match with Stade Brestois this weekend will once again see them face off with a familiar foe in Romain Faivre.

Having spent three years at Monaco from 2017 to 2020 before being sold for around €450,000 to Brest, Faivre’s impressively elevated his game to the next level with the Pirates, relishing the chance to obtain regular first team minutes in Ligue 1.

Proving his class last season in Olivier Dall’Oglio’s entertaining team on his way to registering six goals and five assists, he was certainly one of the league’s premier young players. 

Courtesy of his head turning form, many teams were unsurprisingly interested in snapping him up in the summer transfer window. With AC Milan reportedly especially keen on bringing in the versatile attacking midfielder, who can play anywhere across the frontline, this demonstrated how highly he’s rated.

The move failed to materialise, however, as the 23-year-old instead stayed put with Brest. While his overall performances haven’t been at the level of last season under new manager Michel Der Zakarian, the French U21 international has still frequently evidenced his quality. 

Already bagging three goals and four assists in 10 league appearances, his production has been excellent even though struggling Brest still remain winless. Despite his elite numbers, his demanding manager knows there’s room for improvement from his star man, recently saying: “Romain Faivre is the image of our team. He is able to do much better. Like all players. But yes, more is expected of him, in giving good balls, in animation, to be more efficient and to score.”

Monaco will certainly be wary of his threat, especially considering he scored the winner in Brest’s win over Monaco in October last year. Capable of changing a game with his multifaceted skill set, he’s a tough man to contain throughout 90 minutes of action.

A wizard with the ball at his feet, the technically gifted, fleet footed Frenchman poses plenty of danger on the dribble. Both in high pressure scenarios or when receiving in space, Faivre’s blend of Velcro like control, array of maneuvers to outfox markers and pace enables him to wreak havoc.

Press resistant and an expert at drawing one or more defenders out so he can then find a free man upfield, his ball carrying is a huge asset for Brest both from an individual and collective standpoint.

The fact he surveys his surroundings gives him the knowledge he needs, so he understands if he can immediately turn, spin away from danger or adjust his body shape to protect the ball from incoming pressure.

Well balanced and coordinated, this has helped him withstand challenges and ride tackles so he can continue his momentum. His elusiveness also has the added impact of enabling him to win fouls in advantageous areas in and around the final third. 

Progressing in his passing as well, defences need to be alert to his prowess in this regard, for if he gets any time on the ball he can create chances at will. 

Capable of switching the angle of attacks, breaking the lines with penetrative passes, engaging in slick combination play, striking precise through balls over the top and delivering some astute crosses and cutbacks into the box, he has a pass to match almost any situation. 

Boasting great vision and awake to the movement and positioning of his teammates, there’s been much to admire about how he backs himself to hit expansive passes to oblige the runs of teammates. A crafty set piece taker to boot, Monaco will need to be careful not to concede many free kicks in dangerous areas or give up corners.

Although he could be even more bold with his pass selection at times, there’s no doubting he has the quality needed to unlock defences, which is heightened by his ability to disguise his passes.

Faivre’s intelligent movement is another vital string to his bow, and one that sees him often ideally positioned to breathe life into attacks. Able to hurt opponents when getting between the lines, dropping deeper or running in behind, teammates are usually provided with an option by him. As mentioned earlier, his persistent head scans notably helps him here, granting him an updated mental imagery of his surroundings so he knows where unoccupied spaces are.

Relishing the freedom afforded to him by Der Zakarian, Faivre’s adept at popping up all over the final third centrally, wide and in the half spaces, plus at dropping deeper to overload midfield. As a result, this enables him to connect passages and link the midfield and attack before using his expertise in possession to conjure openings. 

Faivre’s Heat Map this season

By the numbers among players in his position in the last year in the top five leagues, the fact he ranks in the top 15 percent for dribbles completed (2.50 per 90), top 16 percent for pass completion rate (81.1%), top 20 percent for shot creating actions (4.03 p90), top 21 percent for progressive passes (4.23 p90) and top 26 percent for progressive carries (7.14 p90) demonstrates his class.

Definitely a player to keep an eye on, Niko Kovac and his staff will surely be devising a plan to stop the little maestro from stamping his mark on proceedings. 

From Faivre’s viewpoint, he’ll be eager to remind his former team of his quality and propel his current side to their first victory of the season.

Fresh from helping Brest earn a draw with reigning champions Lille 1-1 last weekend, where he scored a classy free kick, Faivre will be keen to enjoy another positive contribution come Sunday afternoon.

Stats provided by FBRef