Reported Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal target Alassane Plea has a fan in the shape of German legend Lothar Matthaus, with the World Cup winner appreciating the Borussia Monchengladbach star’s ability to find space even in a crowded penalty area (Sky).
A la Roberto Firmino, Plea is one of those footballers for whom the bare statistics do not do justice.
The France international has scored just nine times in 29 matches this season, a record which may have those obsessed with numbers and figures wondering why he is a £30 million target for Spurs, Arsenal and Brendan Rodgers Leicester City (BILD).
But as Matthaus points out, there is more to Plea’s game than putting the ball in the back of the net.
“He was wide awake from the start,” the 1990 Ballon D’Or winner said after Plea’s Man of the Match performance inspired Gladbach to an impressive 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
“What I like about him in general is that he appears in various positions in attack and is therefore difficult for the defenders to pick up. He also has tremendous speed with the ball.
“For me, he was the most important player on the pitch (at the Commerzbank Arena).”
This is not to say Plea is not an impressive finisher on his day, however. A man who once formed a stunning partnership with Mario Balotelli at Nice scored 15 times during his debut Bundesliga season after notching a further 35 in his final two years in Ligue 1.
Arsenal supporters will inevitably draw comparisons with another hard-working Frenchman who likes to create chances as frequently as he puts them away. And, with Alexandre Lacazette’s contract running down, Plea feels like a ready-made replacement.