Things could have easily been very different for Nabil Fekir currently. He could have been at Liverpool- winning the Champions League and winning the Premier League. But fate had other ideas for the World Cup winner of 2018. While his move to Real Betis was looked down upon by many, it hasn’t done him any harm at all.
Why his move to Anfield fell through is anyone’s guess. While things would have been better, but Betis has become the right club for him to use as a platform and potentially go to a bigger club in the near future. It will be another achievement in itself for him.
Fekir’s recent performance against Barcelona was proof that things aren’t as bad as people might think. While playing on the left of a 4-1-4-1 shape, Fekir did see red in the game but he got a goal too. He completed as many as four dribbles, becoming the club’s chief creator.
While the sending off was bad, but the performance of the Frenchman has been impressive over the whole season. He has made 19 La Liga appearances, scoring six goals and picking up one assist for the club. He’s mainly playing as an attacking midfielder or as the right-winger, but he’s been useful in other parts of the pitch too.
He’s been completing 3.3 dribbles per game for the side, while making 1.1 key passes as well. While the key passes tally may be low, but the dribbling stats are the highest of his whole career. Before that, his highest dribbling tally was 1.8 dribbles per game from last season.
That shows an improvement in the way he plays. He’s enjoying the freedom and emphasis he’s getting in the La Liga. He might not have got that in a bigger club like Liverpool. He’s also taking three shots per game, leading to an increase in his goalscoring output this season.
Like he was doing at his best, Fekir has been overperforming on his XG this season too. That overperformance has come by 2.67. He’s been scoring from shots that are unlikely to find the back of the net. That is a quality he always had. And it has now become visible in him all over again.
His performance against Mallorca was a reflection of how he’s coming good again. He won three tackles in the game, completing two dribbles for the side. He had one aerial duel to his name, coming up with one key pass too. Not just that, but he also had an impressive passing percentage of 97 percent in that game.
His tackling has been a very under-appreciated part of the armoury over the years. This season has seen him win 1.5 tackles per game, only less than his tally of 1.8 for Lyon last season. In the last three seasons at the Ligue 1 side, Fekir won at least a single tackle per game for them.
The positive for him is that Fekir is still 26 and is probably yet to reach his peak. The reason for a move to Betis can’t really be something anyone is sure of. But it has not been a bad move at all, as continues to dribble and tackle his way in games.
He is still a player who can get a big move very soon. Things are still very much looking bright for him.