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Colour blind? Fekir turns up at Betis rather than Liverpool...

Sunday 4th August 2019
Nabil Fekir Real Betis Ios Warren Smith

Deuteranopia is more commonly known as Red-Green colour-blindness. Sufferers display an inability to differentiate between certain shades belonging to the two colours, often leading to confusion with palettes. Most cases are not severe or life-threatening. Nabil Fekir could have a career-changing diagnosis of Deuteranopia, as he’s signed for Real Betis – not the long-rumoured Liverpool move he craved for...

Aged 26, Fekir still has a decent career left in playing professional football – but he’s called time on his tenure at Olympique Lyonnais; the club he joined when he was 12 years old. Being in Lyon too, the Ligue 1 giants will forever hold a special place is in his heart. Yet given the stalemate/Paris Saint-Germain dominance in Ligue 1, players can easily suffer Stockholm syndrome with a familiarity that the French capital team win everything. A move away from France can energise players with a new challenge, hopefully without capturers or hostility.

Comparing Fekir and Real Betis’ playing styles, there’s a good reason to think he can slot in there seamlessly. He can create chances as well as finish them. Creative from the wide or the centre, he simply likes to be on the ball as he’s shown throughout his career. What’s also noteworthy is his confidence, unerring from responsibility when his team need performers. He’s there stepping up for set-pieces or finding the key passes, contributing for his team. With Lyon, such attributes allowed him nine goals as well seven assists last year. The prior year he had 18 and eight respectively. That’s what attracted Liverpool’s interest...

Should he settle in with no adversity to the Spanish diet, climate or his new teammates there’s good reasoning to suggest he can do the same in La Liga.

It’s with the greatest respect to Real Betis, but why Real Betis? He’s turning away from Champions League football to play exclusively in the Spanish top-flight... He wasn’t exactly in decline at Lyon, having made 29 appearances last year. When fit, he was a regular starter. Maybe joining the tenth best team in Spain, is every French boy’s dream? Not to mention he’s won the World Cup too!

If you googled Fekir’s name at the season’s conclusion, usual rumour mill clickbait had you thinking he was joining an infinity of clubs. Napoli, Arsenal as well as Liverpool (again) were the key gossip lines which caught football fans attention. Pundits went on record to say he doubtlessly had the quality to play for such clubs.

Why didn’t a big move materialise? Fekir probably has to thank Jurgen Klopp et al for shaping his career, even if he failed to join Liverpool. With a £52m deal set to be finalised, Liverpool top executives suddenly pulled away from the deal. Later detailing the player’s injury history coupled with his medical results raised last-minute concerns.

When a top club’s doctors give such a damning diagnosis, other clubs will pay attention – heeding it as a warning. Clubs who had potential interest will have taken the free analysis which Liverpool performed, and re-evaluated their transfer targets. As did the Merseyside Reds, who won the Champions Leagues after snubbing Fekir at the death. The player went on to validate these claims picking up six injuries throughout the year for varying lengths...

In turn with the elite clubs' disinterested due to his now very public treatment table issues, the door opened for other clubs to spark realistic interest. Real Betis inquired; getting the player for a reduced rate to what he would have gone to Liverpool at just £18m, quite a discount!

Realistically, the move is fantastic for the club. They’ve got a top player for a very good price. He’ll come in as a starter, he should be able to elevate the Spanish side. They were three points off European football last year, Fekir could be the difference to earn it this campaign. Ultimately, even if he becomes a trainwreck derailed by injury, the club will still sell its fair share in Fekir shirts.

For the player himself, the transfer isn’t conventional at all. Should he have waited, a big club who may have swooped on deadline day, in desperation or general positional need. He chose Betis for the challenge; and clear refreshment that moving away from France brings, after all, he’s spent the entirety of his career there.

The dip in club competitions may hinder his national team status given he’s on the fringes at present. He does, however, the opportunity has arisen to craft Betis into a better side than their contemporary being. Should he suceed, he’d reap the plaudits – resurrect the big club interest, as well as cement his spot in the starting eleven for France...

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Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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