Ryad Boudebouz 22 Midfielder Sochaux
The thing about summer is that there is no football.
Actually, that’s not true at all. We enjoyed the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, and you don’t need to be the most enquiring of football followers to track down top flight club football while Europe’s main leagues are in recess.
What we mean, when we say no football, is that there just isn’t enough football to write about. For newspapers and websites, something has to fill that gaping void.
So what does all this have to do with Sochaux’s Ryad Boudebouz? Well, for the second consecutive summer, Boudebouz found his name occupying a hefty proportion of those vacant column inches, as every press outlet and their grandmother listed him as transfer fodder extraordinaire with a succession of links to the likely, unlikely, weird and wonderful of football’s elite. PSG, Marseille, Lyon, Borussia Dortmund, Milan, Arsenal and, especially, Liverpool were cast as suitors for the Algerian schemer.
For one reason or another, the move failed to transpire. As a succession of team mates in Ideye, Martin and Maiga departed from Sochaux, Boudebouz, potentially the best of this group, remained.
Born in Colmar in Western France, he elected to represent his parents’ home country of Algeria, rather than remain within the French international set up where he had already been an envoy for Les Bleus at under 17 and under 19 levels. In 2010, immediately prior to the World Cup Boudabouz received his first call up for Algeria and made the trip to South Africa as part of his adopted nation’s final squad.
An intelligent two-footed player, Boudabouz was certainly at his best in the early days of his Sochaux career. Indeed a mesmerising spell between 2009 and 2011 saw Sochaux elevated to their highest league position for a number of years with the Algerian winger/playmaker the focal point of the team’s attacking intent. Linking admirably with Marvin Martin, Sochaux looked good and good performances from their attacking players were a given. Invariably a difficult 2011-12 for the club led to conflict and further departures of the better players. In amongst all this is a talented individual that resembles a pale shadow of his former self. Indeed, Boudabouz has not only suffered a significant loss of form over the last year, he also found himself on the receiving end of some truly abhorrent racial abuse from a small section of the Sochaux support earlier in 2012.
Reflecting upon the abuse, Boudabouz remained dignified in his response, but the nasty undercurrent of the chanting appears to have left a mark. This is not the same player we saw two years ago.
We remain concerned that a young talent who really was amongst the best attacking players in France eighteen months ago looks set to drift into obscurity. A transfer to a club where Boudabouz can perform at on a more prominent stage would be wonderful, however he will need to recapture some form first and with his body language suggesting that isn’t going to happen imminently a great travesty looks to have occurred.
"Nobody suffered from Sochaux's demise more than Boudebouz. Mecha Bazdarevic was not the right man to get the best out of the Moroccan, neither is Eric Hely. Needs to move on or he runs the risk of stagnation." - Jonathan Johnson (French Football Weekly)
D A player that needs to be loved and coaxed back onto the path he was previously fixed. Find a new home and shine again