One 2 Watch – Younès Belhanda

by Li Ming Law

22 | Winger/Attacking Midfielder | Montpellier | Moroccan

There has been a growing interest in Younès Belhanda, a man proclaimed to be attracting the likes of Arsenal FC, Inter Milan, and even Spanish giants Barcelona.

It has been a sensational 2011/12 campaign thus far for the Moroccan International. This appears to have no coincidence with the positional change for the young playmaker, with him being shifted to a “Number 10″ position, in the hole between the strikers and midfielders. It has been change that has been used with devastating effect by Montpellier, with the new Montpellier number 10 finding the net on 2 occasions in his first 3 league outings of the 2011/12 Ligue 1 campaign.

In one year we will not speak of Eden Hazard…we will have another name in our mouth: Belhanda

-Montpellier President Louis Nicollin

His partnership with striker Oliver Giroud has propelled Montpellier to 2nd place at the moment, with this Montpellier side being the tied top scorers in the Ligue 1 at the moment (tied with 1st placed Paris Saint Germain on 52 goals).

The youngster has all the makings of a top class playmaker that could rival even the likes of Andres Iniesta and Steven Gerrard. He has impeccable vision and sublime execution to pull off passes, coupled with a devastating arsenal of weapons that would be able to penetrate even the best defences in Europe.

One very strong attribute of his can be found in his dribbling. The Moroccan is good at finding space in the middle of the ball park, and is also capable of making the right decisions even in the tightest of situations. Furthermore, he has a good change of pace that will allow him to get past the opposition with relative ease.

Lastly, his ability to finish and take set pieces are also impeccable. This is the one aspect of his game where his attributes surpasses that of Belgian winger Eden Hazard. For all of Hazard’s ability to get past opponents on the wing, something that Hazard has been lacking in his game is the ability to finish off moves. Belhanda knows where the net is, and that is why he has been shifted to a more central role. His technique with the set-pieces is fantastic, finding the net from the dead ball on a number of occasions this campaign.

Eden Hazard will dominate the headlines in terms of transfer rumours at the moment, but Belhanda has the required potential to surpass the tricky winger in terms of ability. Watch out for him.

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