Brentford’s Said Benrahma could be one of the best in Europe – if the right choices are made

4 min

Whether Brentford achieve promotion at the end of May or not, few would argue the special talent that is Said Benrahma deserves to be showcased on the highest stage.

With rainbow flicks, nutmegs and dribbling abilities well beyond Championship level, the Algerian possesses a cultured repertoire of talent not seen in West London since Adel Taarabt’s years at QPR.

But to avoid the fate of his north African counterpart, Benrahma, who has never been shy at expressing his desire to play in the Premier League, should choose his next step carefully.

As one third of the strike force known as the ‘BMW’, the 24-year-old has endeared himself in the hearts of Brentford fans, contributing a goal or an assist in just over every other Championship game.

It has helped the side push towards promotion to the top-tier of English football for the first time in 74 years whilst simultaneously moving Benrahma closer to realising his dream of Premier League football.

However, should the Bees ultimately prove unsuccessful there will inevitably be a number of clubs casting admiring glances in Benrahma’s direction with the player recently telling BBC Sport he will see what the summer holds.

Benrahma could conceivably become the latest in a long production line of players that the club have allowed to develop and flourish before seeing them spread their wings and fly elsewhere.

Should Benrahma depart Griffin Park though, he faces an arduous journey to the top so few skilful players have been able to navigate, particularly on English shores.

READ MORE:  Thomas Frank on the ‘Moneyball’ technique driving Brentford’s transfer activity

Like Benrahma, Adel Taarabt made his name in the Championship and looked set to take the Premier League by storm after captaining QPR to the top of the league with 19 goals and 16 assists.

But his career at the next level never materialised, with then-manager Harry Redknapp publicly lambasting the player’s fitness, or lack of it.

Similarly, David Bentley rose through the ranks of Arsenal’s Academy before a move to Blackburn Rovers saw him compared to David Beckham for his uncanny resemblance both on and off the pitch

A £16.5m move to Tottenham followed but Bentley was unable to escape the relentless comparisons and also failed to have the same impact in a struggling Spurs side. He eventually fell out of love with the game and retired at the age of 29.

Both Taarabt and Bentley’s downward trajectories are symptomatic of a wider perception in English football that skilful players are seen as a luxury while attributes like heart and desire are lauded by pundits and fans alike.

This creates an unstable and carping environment for the league’s most entertaining players who are often the first to be scapegoated when their teams are underperforming.

Without English football’s intense scrutiny often magnifying even the most mundane, the development of the likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund show the bright lights of the Premier League are not the only breeding grounds for Europe’s elite to hone their skills.

But if Benrahma is to pursue dreams of the Premier League which didn’t include Brentford, then a side that had a similar philosophy and style would be paramount.

READ MORE: How Brentford have built a squad capable of reaching the Premier League

Unsurprisingly, the player has been linked to both Arsenal and Leicester City over the past few weeks as both teams play an attractive brand of possession-based football.

At the Gunners, slotting Benrahma in on the left would allow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to move into his more appropriate striker position if Alexandre Lacazette leaves while at the King Power, the Algerian would provide an extra dimension to a left wing alongside Harvey Barnes and Demerai Gray.

Of course, as the saying goes, the grass is not always greener and the ideal scenario would see Benrahma remain in the familiar surroundings of Brentford where he is adored but also showcasing his talents to the wider audience that the Premier League brings.

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