In the summer transfer window, one of the biggest buys was that of Harry Kane, who went to Bayern Munich after spending 14 years at Tottenham Hotspur. Coming into the German league, everyone expected Kane to score lots of goals. And while that has been the case, it seems his arrival has also sparked something inside of the other attackers in the league who matched the English striker’s performance. There is Serhou Guirassy, who has outscored everyone across Europe, bagging 13 goals in just seven games. However, another player who has improved massively during this time is Victor Boniface.
The 22-year-old, who has been the main star at Bayer Leverkusen, is one of the key reasons why Xabi Alonso’s men are top of the Bundesliga table. The striker has played in three different leagues in more than one year. This must have been a massive challenge for any player, especially given that each league was far from more challenging than the previous one.
However, Boniface has continued his brilliant form and is now on the transfer wishlist of several of the top clubs in Europe.
Victor Boniface profile
Born in Akure, Nigeria, Boniface first shot to fame during his stint with Real Sapphire, one of the top clubs in Nigeria. At the club, he started to attract the interest of scouts from Europe. In the end, Boniface took a massive gamble by swapping the sunny weather of Nigeria for snowy Norway.
However, it turned out to be an excellent decision for him. This was because he joined FK Bodø/Glimt, a club whose manager was Kjetil Knutsen, one of the most underrated managers on the continent. Under Knutsen, Bopniface found the perfect environment and tactical system to grow his talent.
However, luck didn’t favour him as he suffered a cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for months, which meant he only started his first game in the next season, where he played eight games, scoring one goal.
The following season, though, he massively improved, adding six goals and providing three assists, which played an integral part in FK Bodø/Glimt’s title win. His rise came at a time when the club were winning league titles. This meant that the scouting networks of several clubs had already identified him as a future star.
However, Belgian rising powerhouses Royale Union Saint-Gilloise signed him on a four-year contract. It was here that Boniface would, for the first time, prove that he could go toe-to-toe with the best.
His club had qualified for the Europa League, where he played ten games, scoring six goals and providing two assists. While his team were eliminated in the quarter-finals, Boniface still finished as the joint-top scorer alongside Marcus Rashford.
Boniface had now well and truly arrived at the top level of football, and Bayer Leverkusen, who were massively improving themselves under the tutelage of Xabi Alonso, swooped him to sign him for a fee of €21 million. And in just ten games, he has already proved worth every penny spent on him.
Victor Boniface style of play
Victor Boniface is a player who is blessed with shooting and carrying the ball. This means that he is as dangerous as a goal scorer as he is as a goal creator. This has made him the chief source of goals for Xabi Alonso’s club. His heatmap of the current season is a perfect testament to that. As soon as Boniface enters the opposition’s half, his intention is to use the inside left channel. And his movements are always the same with or without the ball.
In fact, he has been as good as Leroy Sane, who is perhaps the most in-form winger across Europe. Data from Soccerment shows that he is among the most accurate shooters across the top five leagues. He also has a rating of 0.51 on the Expected Threat (xT) from carries metric.
And his contribution to the attack can be perfectly gauged by the Expected Offensive Value Added (xOVA). According to the metric, Boniface has a rating of 5.49, the best among all players in the top five leagues.
His playing style is similar to Sane’s, as he also doesn’t look for easy options to pass or carry the ball. Boniface is always involved in moving the ball forward, which is one reason he is the second most successful dribbler in the Bundesliga.
Victor Boniface potential
Victor Boniface is a player who has improved at a rapid pace for the past three seasons. If he manages to keep up the pace, he will undoubtedly join the likes of Haaland and Mbappe in becoming the game’s future stars.
However, Boniface remains a work in progress. Also, we need to remember that he only has played ten games this season, a small sample size. He will need at least two seasons of top performance to become a top club target.
However, the signs till now are promising, and Boniface must make sure he fulfills the talent which he has in spades.