Despite all the turmoil and chaos at Lille, Sofiane Boufal has been a shining light in what has been a dull season. It is of little wonder then that Premier League clubs Liverpool and Tottenham have been linked with the mercurial midfielder, according to the Mirror.
A real handful
He fits the description of an archetypal Moroccan midfielder well, with brilliant dribbling, trickery and agility. Boufal ranks alongside Hatem Ben Arfa as statistically one of the best dribblers in Ligue 1, and subsequently the most fouled.
He has no problem dishing them out either, as he recently saw red for a nasty stamp in a match against Bastia. He has also racked up six yellow cards for his troubles and there have also been bust-ups with fellow teammates Junior Talleo and Renato Civelli.
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At times, the 22-year-old can rub people the wrong way and he knows it. But for Lille, any of the behavioural doubts they have about the player are ignored because of just how important he has become to the team since his move last season.
Lille's star man
With four goals, he is the club’s top goalscorer. He has drawn comparisons with former Lille star Eden Hazard, not just because of his style of play but due to his importance to the side.
He first rose to prominence in France with his performances with then second division side Angers. That attracted the attention of Lille, who pounced in January spending €3 million on the midfielder. The step up to Ligue 1 certainly did not faze him, and in fact he seems to thrive on the increased spotlight.
Despite how well the midfielder has played on the whole, Lille have still suffered tremendously this season. If he does not score the goals then it seems no one will. And their capitulation only serves to improve the chances that he will leave in the near future, with relegation a real possibility.
A move on the cards?
Having made the step up from Ligue 2, the no.7 certainly doesn’t want to go back. In fact he wants his next club to be competing in Europe.
"I plan to go later in my career to a big European club that will play hopefully in the Champions League, in order to continue my progression," he was quoted in the Daily Express.
Both Liverpool and Spurs are battling for a Champions League spot; should either be lucky enough to make fourth, they may have a greater chance of picking him up in the summer.
Boufal is quickly becoming a big fish in an ever shrinking pond. Regardless of how much he loves Lille, as an ambitious man confident in his own abilities, he more than likely knows he won't be around there too much longer. Whether it happens in January or the summer, a Premier League move may be the next logical step for him.
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