Another player who Manchester United have been linked with a move for this summer is Bordeaux attacker Adam Ounas.
The 19-year-old made waves in Ligue 1 last season and has subsequently had his name put in the hat as a potential Jose Mourinho signing. With that in mind, we wanted to find out more about him so we spoke to freelance football author Robin Bairner, who specialises in France and Scotland, to gain some real insight. Enjoy!
Hi Robin! Thanks for having a chat with us. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi everyone. I’ve been working on French football for close to a decade. I’m a freelance writer but my work is typically found on Goal.com where I’m currently a Euro 2016 correspondent based in France, and publications like When Saturday Comes and the Blizzard.
First off, who is Adam Ounas?
Ounas is a 19-year-old attacking midfielder who was born in France but is also eligible to play for Algeria at international level. His route to Bordeaux is a little complicated. Initially he played for Chateauroux but his discipline was questioned, which led to him being released to Tours. While playing a gala match, he was spotted by Bordeaux.
What were your first impressions of the player? How would you describe his playing style?
He’s a very exciting player who is confident in possession and loves to dribble. He’s capable of playing anywhere in an attacking midfield three and could become a No.10 with a little more experience. Undoubtedly he’s one of the most exciting young players currently in French football, but he is still a little raw and needs to develop his game to improve his consistency. He was treated cautiously last season by coach Willy Sagnol, who would often leave him on the bench for matches and would not allow him to get a big head.
It has been reported that Ounas had an attitude problem as he moved through the ranks at Bourdeaux? Has his attitude caused him problems since breaking into the first-team?
His attitude problems largely came before his time at Bordeaux – or at least publicly. He might have been frustrated to have been left on the bench at times, but that’s natural for a young player who has been performing to a decent standard on a regular basis.
How did the young Frenchman perform this season for Bourdeaux?
His performances were generally of a strong standard, although they did dip a little towards the end of the season. Five goals in 22 appearances is a very fair scoring rate for a player in his rookie season in Ligue 1.
Do you liken Ounas to any player currently playing in Ligue 1?
Yes, I would liken him to Lyon attacker Nabil Fekir, who has been out injured for much of the last year. His style is the same, as is the position he plays and his preference for his left foot. Ounas is a couple of years younger, though, and of course he does not have the handicap of having to come back from a serious injury.
RMC has reported that United made a €10 million offer for Ounas. Is the young attacker ready for a move away at this time and what kind of fee do you feel he’d command?
I think United should see €10 million as good business if they can negotiate that deal. Ounas is a player with outstanding potential, although I think he does have a need for more regular first-team football to gain experience. An option United might consider being worthwhile is signing him then sending him back to Bordeaux for a season. That would probably suit both parties.
And finally, how good of a player do you think Ounas can become?
Predicting the development of teenagers is notoriously difficult. the next couple of years will be crucial to his development. I don’t see him developing into a world-class player but he could certainly become a top player for a very good side. Equally, though, he could disappear if he’s not treated with the care that he needs. It’s a delicate situation – just look at the differing levels of performance between Martial and Memphis this season. I’d bet that Ounas would be more successful than Memphis, though.
Thank you to Ravi for another excellent interview and Robin for taking the time to talk to us.