Pundit View: Crystal Palace target Said Benrahma has caused a media storm this season

According to Teamtalk, Crystal Palace are keen on signing Brentford prospect Said Benrahma, whose sensational form in the second tier this season has also attracted the interest from West Ham, Spurs, Arsenal, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

The Algerian, who many are tipping to be the next Riyad Mahrez, has chalked up nine goals and 11 assists in the Championship this campaign despite having only arrived from Nice in the summer – talk about hitting the ground running.

The Bees clearly know they have got a real talent on their hands and have slapped an eye-watering £30m price tag on their star man to either ward off interest or make a handsome profit.

The 23-year-old is certainly highly thought of by both Brentford and the aforementioned clubs, but what are the experts saying about him? Read on to find out.

Thomas Frank, Brentford boss

Brentford boss Thomas Frank obviously knows Benrahma well, here‘s what he said after a big victory:

“When he plays like that, he is a joy to watch. He’s exciting every time he gets the ball because he can create something out of nothing. It is like magic and very few teams in this league have that.

“His finishing has got better and better but his assists are also incredible. His run and pass for Kamohelo Mokotjo made that the most beautiful goal of the day for me.

“He is growing more and more composed and when he runs at defences he is terrifying because he can go left or right. When players mark him he’ll pass the ball for another of our front three to do some damage.”

Frank waxed lyrical about the number 21 after a 5-1 thumping of Hull in February and with good reason – Benrahma netted a hat-trick and provided an assist to boot, with one of his strikes also winning him the Championship goal of the month award.

This was the first time in his short career at Griffin Park that the winger had netted more than once in a game and some hat-trick it was. Hopefully there are more to come.

Sam Saunders, ex-Brentford midfielder

Speaking to Sky Sports, ex-Brentford man Sam Saunders said:

“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.

“It just doesn’t leave his foot, it’s like it’s velcroed on.

Esteemed praise from the 35-year-old. Indeed, Benrahma’s ability to sprint full speed at helpless defenders yet somehow never lose control of the ball is unique and something you rarely see at the top level, let alone in the Championship.

This a technique which Lionel Messi has mastered and, while Benrahma will never be able to match the otherworldly exploits of the wonderful Argentine, it’s easy to understand why the parallel has been drawn.

Dean Ashton, ex-player and pundit

The Sky Sports pundit had this to say on the Championship sensation:

“He has been superb but I think we’d have to see him perform this well for longer to think he could do it for one of those clubs [Arsenal or Chelsea].

“But, certainly, you’d think for the bottom half Premier League sides he’s worth a look because he could be a real exciting option for them.”

Having been linked with some of the biggest teams in Europe, the prospect of making the jump from the English second tier to Champions League football is surely a daunting one for Benrahma.

However, the likes of James Maddison and David Brooks have proven this campaign that the step up to one of the lesser teams in the Premier League – Palace included – is far more straight-forward.

Was Darren Moore’s sacking unfair? The Pl>ymaker FC squad name which EPL bosses should have gone instead in the video below…

Verdict

If Benrahma can bring even half the goal contributions he has provided at Brentford to Selhurst Park, he would be a huge hit and well worth the eight-figure price tag given his scope for future improvement.

With Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha holding down the wings at Palace, the Bees wide-man will have some task on his hands to get into the starting XI in the first place, let alone get 20-plus goal contributions in the top flight. The move would represent a huge amount of risk for the Eagles but their squad is ageing and he could become quite the player.