One name that has persisted in the transfer gossip columns and sports pages is that of French striker Loic Remy. The 23-year old Nice forward has reportedly been a target of West Ham, Stoke, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal. Many more clubs across Europe have sent scouts to watch the forward who earned his second international cap last week. But is this player and his busy agent worth all the fuss and conjecture? Would Remy be able to live up to his ever burgeoning profile?
Goal-scorers have long been the hardest and most expensive position for clubs to fill. This partly explains why large sums are often charged for forwards who already have proven Premier League experience. Remy lacks that experience having spent his entire career in France but his attributes suggest he could adapt seamlessly to life in England’s top division. The forward who has been compared to Thierry Henry, started his senior career at Olympique Lyonnais. The youngster struggled to establish himself in their first team and was loaned to fellow Ligue 1 club Lens, where he found the net on four occasions. Such was the promise and potential of the 6ft striker, Nice decided to break their transfer record to sign Remy for 8 million euros in 2008. During his first season there he scored 6 goals in 6 games early on, then endured a relatively quiet period before hitting a purple patch later in the campaign. Remy scored 14 league goals last season in a faltering Nice team which finished 15th in Ligue 1.
Attuned to clinical finishing and playing in a variety of attacking positions his suitors patently believe he can take a step up to the PL. Remy appears to be a thoroughbred, possessing physical strength, skills, speed and scoring ability. He has been deployed as a lone striker but French football journalist, Tom Williams has inferred that he could struggle in this role against PL defences. “At Nice, he played from the right and he’s played from the left for the under-21s.” Williams additionally notes that Remy has used his pace to devastating effect when Nice adopt a counter-attacking style. PL scouts have sent glowing reports back to their respective clubs on the Frenchman who is technically proficient and a clean striker of the ball.
The wave of interest in his possible capture is due to this ability to perform in a range of forward positions, whether out wide or from deep. Put rather crudely strikers can be often be divided into two distinct camps. There are old-fashioned British style centre-forwards who rely on their physical presence and sense of timing and those who use their skill, wily movement and speed to unsettle defences. Remy’s potential to transcend this binary distinction explains his appeal to a diverse range of clubs.
This assortment of skills shows why clubs from Stoke to Arsenal have expressed an interest in Remy. He seemed destined for West Ham last month but the two clubs disagreed on the initial fee payment. Remy visited the Britannia stadium recently but stated that White Hart Lane would be his preferred destination. “A move to Spurs would be interesting,” he told L’Equipe. “Stoke is not a move I want. Nice is in real need of money and it should be adaptable with the price to help sell me.”
Remy’s club may not be as malleable as he wishes given their reluctance to lose the player for less that £13 million. Barring the exploits of Manchester City, the transfer window has been exceptionally peaceful to the extent that Stoke’s £8 million signing of Kenwyne Jones had the capacity to shock. Yet for a fee not on the scale of a Mario Balotelli or David Silva many PL clubs could score an early victory over their competitors by swooping for the talented Remy.