Youssef En-Nesyri - Player profile
Sevilla are on course for their best ever La Liga points tally sitting on 74 points with 3 more up for grabs , which if secured would be enough to beat their current record by a single point. This season has been very mixed for the Andalucian outift with Sevilla fans presumably delighted to secure champions league football, however disappointed a potential title charge upon Spain’s ‘big three’ of Atletico, Real and Barca was never really sustained and fizzled out. Furthermore, Sevilla lost the semi finals of the Copa del Rey and Exited the champions league at the round of 16 after a frustrating aggregate defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Vital to most of what has been good about going forward this season for Sevilla, has come through talismanic Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri.
En-Nesyri has almost averaged a goal a game with 18 goals in 37 appearances in la liga, and with his 18 goals En-Nesyri has contributed to 35% of Sevilla’s entire number of La Liga goals scored this season , highlighting just how valuable he is for Julen Lopetegui’s side. With a further 6 goals in the Champions League and couple of goals in the African Cup of Nations for Morocco, En-Nesyri is a hot prospect. Playing for a side accustomed to success of late winning numerous Europa League titles in the past decade, and still only being 23- En-Nesyri is a striker who has to be on the radar for scouts across Europe’s elite sides.
En-Nesyri’s rise so far.
En-Nesyri played academy football in his native Morocco before starting his career in Spanish football with Malaga’s B team. En-Nesyri was prolific at that level scoring 6 times in his only 6 appearances for the side, this led to the striker being involved with Malaga’s first team almost instantaneously since his move from Africa to match his rapid development. En-Nesyri scored once in the 2016-17 La Liga season, following this up with 4 goals in 25 games in 2017/18 where Malaga suffered relegation. Newly promoted Madrid based side Leganes recognised En-Nesyri’s potential and pounced at the chance to sign the Moroccan, acquiring him on a 5 year deal. En-Nesyri’s first season in Leganes was solid reaching double digits for goals, the following season En-Nesyri had scored 4 goals before January which was enough for Sevilla to be convinced to sign the 22 year old for a fee of around 12 million euros. En-Nesyri was brought in to offer competition for Luuk De Jong, who was hit and miss at the time, and replace the outgoing Munas Dabbur who’s transfer from RB Salzburg was almost disastrous and highly disappointing. En-Nesyri made 27 appearances in his first half season at Sevilla only netting 6 goals. Predictably En-Nesyri had made a slow start to life at Sevilla, making the transition to a bigger club for the first time in his career. Due to his mixed season in 2019-20, few would have predicted the Moroccan to explode into life as much as he has done in 2020-21. For club and country En-Nesyri has 25 goals from 52 appearances and at the peak of his form he had scored 2 la liga hattricks against Real Sociedad and Cadiz in the space of just 14 days.
With Numerous goals in a top 5 league, in addition to 6 champions league goals from just 8 outings and a respectable 11 goals from 37 senior Morocco caps, En-Nesyri has had a rise in status and performance that few strikers across Europe can boast.
En-Nesyri in action against Cadiz in January, the match in which he scored his second la liga hattrick with his 2nd goal being a fine header, really demonstrating his aerial talents.
Style of play
En-Nesyri is a surprisingly complete striker. Considering the fact that he stands at 6’2 and has a very lean frame you would be forgiven for assuming he is nothing other than a targetman. 5 of his goals in La Liga have indeed been headers but 8 goals have been assured finishers on his favoured left foot while he also has bagged an impressive 5 goals on his weaker right foot. All of En-Nesyri’s goals have been scored in and around the penalty area. En-Nesyri is lethal around the 12 yard zone as highlighted by the fact he has many strings to his bow, being able to score with both feet and his head. Few strikers can boast all 3 of these skills. En-Nesyri has scored 12 goals i from 55 shots in the penalty area, overperforming his xG by 3 which is always an encouraging sign. The Moroccan has also been unfortunate to not record an assist this season as he has made 13 Key passes, making up an expected assists number of 2.5, this shows how En-Nesyri is also perhaps more comfortable on the ball and linking teammates in to play than first assumed. En-Nesyri has no penalty goals this season meaning his 25 goals in all competitions puts him in the top percentile for non-penalty goals per 90, the figure being just shy of 0.70 goals per 90. In comparison Evertonian, Calvert-Lewin averages 0.42 non-penalty goals per 90. With an average of just under 4 aerial duels won per 90 En-Nesyri betters tall and aerially dominant forwards such as Huesca’s Rafa Mir or 6’5 Dutch Wolfsburg forward Wout Weghorst, who both win marginally less aerial duels per 90 than En-Nesyri.
What Does the future hold for Youssef En-Nesyri?
En-Nesyri is such a hot prospect right now, and with a more than reasonable market value of 30million euros he would be a welcome addition to many sides craving an out and out striker and pure finisher. It remains to be seen whether En-Nesyri can keep this exceptional form up as we must remember this is still his first season for hitting double digits in a league season. En-Nesyri is still only 23 and has so far had a remarkable career trajectory since coming over from North Africa. Should he stay at Sevilla he will get another much needed champions league campaign under his belt, and potential suitors will be able to assess whether his form this season was just a flash in the pan or whether he can sustain his current level of performance. The fact he outperforms his xG amongst other factors is an encouraging sign that En-Nesyri is no one season wonder, and that his level may well be in the elite category when he reaches his prime. West Ham have previously been most heavily linked with En-Nesyri in a move that would make a lot of sense with the Hammers lacking a presence upfront at times and really looking to match on the pitch achievements with ambition in the transfer market.
Whether he stays in Andalucía or leaves in the near future it is clear that the future holds a lot for the Moroccan. With North Africa having something of a reputation for producing skilful wingers and creative midfielders, it would seem appropriate if the next big thing out of the region to represent one of Europe’s bigger sides, was instead to be a ruthless striker. Any elite side in a top 5 league feeling as if they are a bit light upfront should be seriously considering En-Nesyri before his current value potentially skyrockets.
Written by- Joe Langlands
LinkedIn- Joe Langlands