Brentford's Wing Wizard Benrahma on Chelsea's Transfer Radar

Published August 5th, 2020 - 01:30 GMT
Said Benrahma (Photo:
Said Benrahma (Photo:

In 2016 it was decided that Brentford would abolish their academy and development squad, with a European-style 'B' team considered a better way for players to improve their games.

"Brentford can't win by outspending the competition, so we have to outthink them," co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen told Bleacher Report in 2017, with the Griffin Park outfit keen to embrace analytics when recruiting players.

That tactic, which resembles the 'Moneyball' philosophy made famous by baseball's Oakland Athletics, has paid dividends, with Brentford regularly selling players for profit while routinely challenging for promotion themselves.

One of the method's greatest successes has come in the form of Said Benrahma.

Seemingly cast aside by Nice and having spent the previous two seasons on loan in Ligue 2, Benrahma was plucked away from France in the summer of 2018, with Brentford paying just £2.7 million ($3.5m) for his services.

In his two campaigns in west London he has been nothing short of sensational, becoming one of the second tier's standout attacking stars.

Across two seasons he has scored 28 goals and provided 27 assists, including three hat-tricks. Understandably, bigger clubs are now beginning to circle.

Goal has learned that a number of clubs have scouted the Algeria international over the course of the current campaign, including both Chelsea and Arsenal.

The 24-year-old is on the Blues' transfer shortlist for this summer, though he is less of a priority when compared to the likes of Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell.

West Ham and newly-promoted Leeds United, too, are keen to sign him, with it almost certain he will be playing in the Premier League next term.

“I don’t look at it as my destiny, but it has always been a target of mine to play in the Premier League and I really wish to play in the Premier League with Brentford," Benrahma told The Telegraph in a recent interview.

“I always watched the Premier League, especially Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. I used to watch when Cristiano [Ronaldo], Thierry Henry and [Hatem] Ben Arfa at Newcastle were playing. Samir Nasri at Arsenal, too. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to play in England.”

Benrahma, who has thrived since he was switched from the right-hand side to the left in January 2019, forms one third of the Championship's most formidable and dynamic attacking tridents.

'The BMW' - made up of Benrahma, fellow winger Bryan Mbeumo and central striker Ollie Watkins - have scored 59 goals and provided 21 assists between them over the course of the Championship season. They cost a combined fee of £10.3m ($13.5m).

Watkins has been heavily linked to West Ham while Mbeumo, who was dubbed the 'Ligue 2 Mbappe' when signed from Troyes in the summer of 2019, is also likely to garner Premier League interest after Brentford failed to beat Fulham at the national stadium.

Benrahma's ability to effortlessly dribble past full-backs and fire off net-bursting shots from any range is one of the reasons for that.

For the man some have dubbed 'the Algerian Messi', the Premier League awaits.

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