“Benrahma…oh my goodness…Benrahma! What can you say? He literally is the magic man!”
In what is commonly referred to as the beautiful game, few players have possessed the level of artistry to evoke such a reaction.
Even fewer have the stardust to draw such elation (from an empty stadium no less) in the red and white of Brentford but Said Benrahma has turned this feat into something of a habit.
It may have taken the entire transfer window for the Algerian to get the big-money move his talents deserve but the 25-year-old now looks set to fulfil his top flight destiny in the claret and blue of West Ham United.
And although Brentford are a club renowned for being a conveyor belt of talent such as Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins, there is an argument that Benrahma will leave Brentford supporters with even sweeter memories than his former teammates.
Most recently against Fulham in the Carabao Cup – in his first start of the season after weeks of transfer speculation – Benrahma showed fans, detractors and hesitant suitors exactly what all the fuss was about.
Two months on from narrowly missing out on promotion at the hands of the same West London rivals, Benrahma once again took the opportunity to showcase a talent worthy of the big time whilst simultaneously avenging Brentford’s Play-Off loss to a side strengthened by Premier League money.
Benrahma’s first goal came largely against the run of play – capping off a well-worked free-kick routine to showcase his usual goalscoring awareness.
But it was his second of the night which encapsulated his entire footballing persona in three magical seconds.
He received the ball in a familiarly dangerous position just outside the box with a row of Fulham bodies in his immediate path.
Michael Hector was brave enough to step out and challenge the no.10 with Benrahma, a typically direct dribbler, deceptively shaping his body away from goal to suck the defender into his vortex, slipping the ball between the defender’s legs with his back turned and placing a devastating shot past Marek Rodak.
Perhaps most striking of all, his celebration emanated an aura of imperturbable confidence as opposed to the complete surprise normally associated with such a breathtaking goal. It was as if he had mapped everything out in his mind and knew he would execute it to a tee.
And in that moment, Benrahma’s ideas and his actions were one and the same…
It takes a certain gravitas to warrant the ‘double-up’ treatment from defenders and this goal is a testament to why one marker is sometimes not enough to contain Benrahma’s brilliance. Still, that superb display was just the cherry garnishing the top of a cake layered with stellar performances.
What sets him apart from his former strike partners is the pure excitement he brought to Brentford fans to accompany those performances.
“Sumptuous. It is football you have to drool over. It is the Said Benrahma show.”
The progression of players from the Championship to the Premier League has been well documented, even with the initial doubts over whether such performances can be replicated in the top division.
But with Benrahma, those doubts do not appear as prevalent – a testament to the general acceptance of the range in his attacking qualities.
Whether it is scoring hat-tricks with ease, netting crucial winners or being the creative springboard for his team, the Algerian will prove a welcome addition to any club with West Ham the lucky beneficiaries.
The beginning of an already chaotic Premier League season has thrown up a commonality among the best performers thus far: a creative lynchpin through which every attack flows.
The best examples of this are Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Everton’s James Rodriguez as they both supplement their manager’s regimented approaches with surgical precision in the final third.
Benrahma is a player who looks increasingly capable of fulfilling this role – particularly for a side like West Ham who need an irresistible creator to take them to the next level.
Under David Moyes, the Hammers look a compact and well-drilled outfit but lack the mercurial ingenuity Dimitri Payet provided and Felipe Anderson was supposed to inject.
While the widely touted £25m price tag may have dissuaded some potential suitors, it is worth considering that wide forwards in the Benrahma mould are very much in tactical fashion and do not come around very often – especially at that price.
Aston Villa parted with £27.72m for Watkins’ scoring prowess in the knowledge that Grealish, John McGinn and now Ross Barkley would provide him with all the service he needs.
Similarly, a number of top-flight sides lack the guile to connect the midfield and attack which Benrahma boasts in spades, either to diligently exploit high lines with quick, sweeping counter-attacks or provide the cutting edge in a possession-based outfit.
Moreover, the frightening breadth of Benrahma’s attacking skillset indicates he has the potential to make a bigger impact than Maupay and Watkins in the top-flight given his efficacy as both a facilitator and finisher.
Goalscoring and creative masterclasses underpinned his role as Brentford’s chief architect – the one who so often produced something from nothing.
This adds yet another layer of admiration as Benrahma forges his name onto the sacred list of players who have the end product to complement their trickery. His work as one third of the lethal trident ‘BMW’ also suggests linking up with top-flight attackers should only raise his game.
Given the shaky nature of Premier League defences so far this campaign, it would be difficult to imagine a world where Benrahma will not leave defenders perpetually on the back foot.
As Bees fans witnessed last season, surrounded by other quality attackers, the Algerian could very well come good on Brentford’s asking price whilst continuing to entertain his admirers and ascend to his rightful place as one of Europe’s most exciting attackers.
In doing so, Benrahma has made a name for himself among the Brentford faithful as a special talent, scoring special goals and creating special memories seldom seen at the club.