'Like Messi': £20m Said Benrahma could be Aston Villa's best forward in a decade

Argentina's Lionel Messi is pictured during the 2018 World Cup qualifier football match against Peru in Buenos Aires on October 5, 2017.

Premier League newcomers Aston Villa reportedly want to sign Said Benrahma from Championship outfit Brentford.

Said Benrahma of Brentford during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Barnet and Brentford at The Hive on January 28, 2019 in Barnet, United Kingdom.

This time last year, hardly anyone in England was aware of a little-known winger by the name of Said Benrahma. It’s fair to say that is no longer the case.

Brentford pulled off yet another inspired transfer coup by signing a two-time Algeria international from French second tier outfit Chateauroux. And The Bees could be in line to make a £20 million profit.

Because, according to the Express and Star, Aston Villa are working on an eye-watering deal to reunite Dean Smith with a player who shone under him at Griffin Park in the first few months of the 2018/19 campaign.

 

Even Smith’s departure in October didn’t destabilise Benrahma’s season. The fleet-footed winger ended 2018/19 with 11 goals and 17 assists as he left full-backs with twisted blood and goalkeepers grasping thin air.

Blessed with glorious technical ability and the tendency to drift past opponents at will, no wonder former Brentford midfielder Sam Saunders likened him to a certain Lionel Messi.

Said Benrahma of Brentford (R) is challenged by George Byers of Swansea City during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Swansea and Brentford at Liberty Stadium on February 17, 2019 in...

“I trained with him and I know it’s a big shout but he is a little bit like Lionel Messi in the way he can run with the ball with pace,” he told Sky Sports. “It just doesn’t leave his foot, it’s like it’s velcroed on.”

In fact, Aston Villa haven’t had a winger this exciting since a fresh faced Ashley Young was dominating Premier League defences in claret and blue a decade ago.

And, at just 23, Benrahma has the natural talent to go on and exceed Young’s achievements at one of England’s biggest clubs.

Brentford Manager Thomas Frank and Said Benrahma celebrate the win during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Hull City at Griffin Park on February 23, 2019 in Brentford,...

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch