(Ben W) #1

(Porto, Por & Alg)
At 29, the BBC’s African Player of the
Year in 2014 will find himself at a career
crossroads when he becomes a free
agent on the last day of June.
While Italian sports daily La Corriere
dello Sport claims Lazio are at the front
of the queue for his signature and are
willing to give him a lucrative five-year
contract, France Football magazine
suggests Internazionale are in pole
position. There was even a rumour late
last year that Benfica were interested,
ever keen to cause embarrassment to
their domestic arch-rivals.
With 45 caps for his country and more
than 30 appearances in the Champions
League, Brahimi has bags of experience
but can be a little prone to inconsistency.
However, when it all comes together for
him it makes for an explosive mix. Last
season, for example, he was in dazzling


form for Porto and was one of the most
influential figures in their first domestic
league title since 2013.
The Paris native is a rare example of
FCP failing to reap a handsome dividend
from a re-sale. After paying Granada of
Spain just €6.5million for him in 2014,
the club would have hoped to make a
substantial profit. But for once they came
off second-best to a single-minded pro
and his entourage.
Brahimi, whose current annual pay

packet is reported to be around €1.5m,
was apparently demanding double to
re-sign, but Porto refused to play ball.
“This is a subject which we have gone
over 200 times,” claimed club president
Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa. “Only Brahimi
can decide if he wants to stay here or
not. He’s received our propositions and
how much we can offer him. He has the
right to opt for other clubs.”
A former pupil at the French national
academy at Clairefontaine, Brahimi has
never been one for making the most
obvious of career choices. At 16 he quit
Paris Saint-Germain for Rennes – a club
with a far better record of churning out
professionals and giving them a chance
in the first team.
The risk-loving Algerian might just
have another left-field surprise in store
when choosing his next destination.
Nick Bidwell

YACINE BRAHIMI


“Only Brahimi can decide if he wants
to stay here or not. He’s received our
propositions and how much we can
offer him. He has the right to opt for
other clubs”
Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa

MOST WANTED