Connoisseurs of reinventing themselves, Sevilla have maintained success in recent years by becoming masters of the transfer market. Their model is simple, buy talented players and nurture them as they grow before selling them for huge profits then begin that cycle again.
This summer has been no different and with Kevin Gameiro heading to Atletico Madrid, the Spanish side have pulled off another excellent move by signing Toulouse striker Wissam Ben Yedder for a figure believed to be just under €9m.
It is yet another steal by Monchi and his team, who have made the best value-for-money deal on any forward in Europe this summer.
To begin, let’s establish a commonly accepted reality: is a clear lack of quality goalscorers in Europe. This was most evident during the European Championships this summer, where not a single striker really stole the limelight and the larger sides have found it tougher than ever to find an individual who can find the net on a regular basis.
Now let’s look at the Franco-Moroccan’s track record and you will start to see why he will be such a valuable outlet. Ben Yedder has notched at least 15 strikes in the last three seasons, scoring a career-best 17 in the 2015-16 campaign despite only having scored four before Christmas.
When you add to that the fact that he was performing consistently for a largely poor team that lacked any creative spark, the achievement begins to appear more and more impressive by the minute.
With only Martin Braithwaite occasionally lighting the load, the 25-year-old was their primary source of goals but despite the immense pressure of saving the club consistently from Ligue 1 relegation being placed upon him, he always delivered when necessary: Toulouse never went down.
Although I hate trying to find a well-known comparison to describe a prospect coming out of Ligue 1 as a general principle, for the benefit of La Liga fans, the best way to describe Ben Yedder is as a budding Luis Suarez. Clever, great close control that compliments his ability to dribble past and towards players and he has the lethal instinct and confidence to dominate most one vs one situations.
He has a tendency to play between the opponent’s midfield and defensive banks, enjoying coming short for the ball when and if he needs to. He has the presence of mind and the desire to create his own chances when there are no obvious options available to him and can genuinely be a real handful for any central defender with his unpredictability and trickery.
Although he is not as strong or as good in the air as the Uruguayan, at this stage of his career Ben Yedder is arguably more technically refined than Suarez, and it is impossible for the French youth international not to progress to an international level at Sevilla.
The dog with a bone style is exactly what he will bring to Sevilla, and for that reason he will fill that Gameiro void with aplomb. He will enjoy sitting on the last man like the Frenchman before him and will feed off the likes of Victor Iborra, Yehven Konoplyanka and fellow new signing Hiroshi Kiyotake, who are significant upgrades from those he was surrounded with in the Stadium Municipal.
The fact that Sevilla have identified him shows just how good their scouting network is, he fits what they need so perfectly and he could not have found a better fit, even though there was interest from the Premier League.
Once you begin comparing this deal to other rumblings across Europe, it is pure insanity if nobody else tried to trump Seville’s offer. When Swansea are reportedly offering £10m for Leonardo Ulloa, it just shows where good networking can get you and new Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli will be delighted with his new toy.
If you do not want to take my word for it, Toulouse manager Pascal Dupraz has had his say this week as he believes that Ben Yedder is actually better that Gameiro. He told reporters:
“Sevilla have not found a replacement for Gameiro, they have signed someone who is better. Gameiro is fantastic, but Wissan is the best striker I have ever seen.
He is a very good guy, always cheerful and nice, and a very good professional. He is always the first to arrive at training and is an exceptional player.”
It looks like Monchi has yet again beaten everyone to the punch a year early. On a bigger stage, Ben Yedder will shine and when clubs begin to circle again in the summer, he will go for a much higher price.
Not only is this the best value striker in this window, it could be one of the coups of the entire summer. Ben Yedder will be desperate to impress and that can only benefit Sevilla, who are set to show again exactly why they remain a top team in Spain and in Europe.