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AS Monaco’s Prodigy

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Back in the summer, AS Monaco sold perhaps their best player in the squad to Real Madrid in Aurelien Tchouameni; the midfielder broke the record sale for the club as Los Blancos paid €80 million for his services. However, AS Monaco have been here before. When the club loses a player, it creates two to three more with similar potential. And the latest such product from their youth academy is attacking midfielder Eliesse Ben Seghir.

The 18-year-old has come into his own this season, dazzling with his fantastic skill and quick feet. Before the season, Seghir was just one of the many talents in Les Monegasques. Then, however, the principality club saw a managerial change with Philippe Clement, a man who won three consecutive Belgian Pro League titles, took over.

Clement immediately saw the immense talent that the teenager possessed and gave a shot in the first team. And Ben Seghir has grabbed the opportunities with both hands, using the limited minutes to good use.

So, who is Eliesse Ben Seghir, and how good is he?

Playing career so far 

Born in Saint-Tropez, a commune in southern France, Ben Seghir’s footballing journey started at five when he joined the local club SC Cogolinois in 2010. Ben Seghir would spend six years at the club honing his skills. 

His rise in the youth ranks didn’t go unnoticed, and in 2016 he joined Frejus Saint-Raphael. However, his stint at the club was short, as he returned to SC Cogolinois in 2018. During all this time, his stock started to rise in the youth football ranks across France.

And in 2020, Ben Seghir moved 131 kilometres away from his hometown, joining Ligue 1 giants AS Monaco. Ben Seghir was sent straight to the youth academy, where he would spend two years before he was promoted to the under-19s, where he played one match in the Coupe Gambardella in the 2021-22 season. 

However, even the most optimistic of Ben Seghir’s fans would not have envisioned the incredible rise he would witness in the next season. After being in the youth team, Ben Seghir got his chance in the first team making his Ligue 1 debut on December 28, 2022, against Auxerre.

Eliesse Ben Seghir stats 

Ben Seghir’s debut against Auxerre was the stuff of dreams. With the teams tied at 1-1, manager Philippe Clement boldly chose to send in the teenager as a half-time substitute. And Ben Seghir paid all that trust with two goals that helped Monaco triumph 3-2 and take all three points.

Ben Seghir would again traumatise Auxerre when the two sides met again in Ligue 1, scoring a goal to help his team win the match 3-2.  

To further analyse his impact in such a short time, we could look at his Expected Threat (xT) metric. According to Soccerment, his xT from carries in nine matches is 0.37, which, adjusted by per 90 minutes, is the best in the league.

Applying the same methodology to the Expected Offensive Value Added (xOVA) metric, which measures the total attacking contribution of a player, Ben Seghir ranks as the fourth-best player in the league. The 18-year-old is also the fourth-best player when accounting for non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes.

Eliesse Ben Seghir scout report 

Eliesse Ben Seghir’s rise to the senior team has been vastly different from so many players in his game who play a considerable amount of time in the youth teams or reserves before they get a crack at the first team. However, Ben Seghir has a perfect combination of talent, skill and a rare knack for being unfazed by any situation. 

In the limited minutes that he got, Ben Seghir has been a tireless runner in and around the attacking third of the pitch. According to fbref, Ben Seghir has averaged 4.53 progressive passes per 90 minutes, among the top five percentile of forwards. 

Seghir is also capable of playing as a winger, as he possesses both passing and dribbling skills in spades. Ben Seghir is also perhaps the best defender among the attackers, winning 1.47 tackles per 90 minutes, among the top one percentile of attackers.

Ben Seghir also loves to play on the left as it allows him to drift inward and use the inside channel to dictate the play. Cutting inside from the left also allows him to get the ball on his favoured right foot, giving him the luxury of shooting or passing the ball to a teammate in a better scoring position.

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What makes him special 

As mentioned earlier, Ben Seghir has managed to shine in one of the toughest leagues in football without having a good run of games in the youth teams or a pre-season with the senior team. This will be excellent news for AS Monaco, who know that come next season, Eliesse Ben Seghir could become a far better player than his current season.

In addition, Ben Seghir also has the time on his side to decide whether he wants to convert to a winger or become an advanced midfielder in a three-man formation. However, for now, he just needs to ensure that he continues to develop as a player.

Eliesse Ben Seghir potential and future at AS Monaco 

Eliesse Ben Seghir is a player that has been fast-tracked into the senior side and has proven that no challenge is too big for him. However, it will be the following season when he will face his biggest challenge as the expectations from him will rise.

He will also have to perform under the immense pressure of Europe’s top clubs scouting him for the future. However, Ben Seghri has already proved that he possesses the talent to thrive at the top level. Whether he can do it consistently remains a question for now.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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