Amine Gouiri is a French U21 international and currently plays for OGC Nice. He had a strong season in Ligue 1 finishing with 8 non-penalty goals and 7 assists. He mostly played on the left wing but is able to play as a striker, but less effectively. Galtier, who just won the league with Lille, could be taking over as Nice coach next season and it will interesting to see how Gouiri and the rest of a talented Nice squad can do under him. But, Gouiri could be on the move before the new season as he’s been linked with clubs like Liverpool and AC Milan.
- Nationality: French
- Age: 21
- Date of birth: 16/02/2000
- Current Club: Lyon, OGC Nice
- Position: Left Wing
- Preferred foot: Right
Gouiri stands at 5’11”, he lacks muscle mass but has an average build. He does lack physicality though and can be bullied in challenges at times, however I think this partly comes down to a lack of aggression. He doesn’t seem to enjoy the physical side of the game. He’s agile with quick feet and is pretty fast, but not electric. He is able to carry the ball very effectively at speed though with small strides and good changes of direction. His acceleration is good and is able to change speeds well with the ball. His work rate is fairly poor though and lacks intensity out of possession and can often switch off in defensive transition. His leap is labelled as poor because he rarely goes up to compete in aerial duels.
The French winger is strong technically and I may have been a bit harsh to give him 4 and not a few 5s in the graphic above but I think there’s work to be done. Firstly, he receives the ball really well. He mostly does well to control powerful passes in tight spaces and is able to kill them dead and protects the ball very well. He’s press resistant and able to turn effectively as long he’s not put under much physical pressure. Gouiri needs to build some consistency with his touch though as I think he can be a little too casual at times and receive the ball cleaner between the lines. I also saw him struggle to control the high ball a bit, again looking a bit casual.
He is very right footed and rarely uses his left foot. This season he only took 2 of his 80 shots with his left foot, 81% were with his right foot. While this doesn’t necessarily limit him too much, it can make him predictable and developing his left foot could make him more well rounded. For example at the moment he doesn’t cross like a traditional winger from out wide. He rarely crosses but when he does they come from within the left side of the box with his right. Two of his assists came from these where he elegantly floated the ball onto the 6 yard line. He is also a solid set piece taker, getting an assist from a corner and a free kick this season, as well as a cross off the second ball of his original free kick delivery.
The winger’s passing was good but inconsistent. At times he played very good two touch play and could receive between the lines and lay it off wide. On the counter, after driving at the defence he showed some very good incisive through passes. But needs to show this quality more often. At times he could be too casual and underhit simple passes and needed to take care of his passes more. His technique was good though and he was able to switch play effortlessly a few times.
His ball carrying is his main strength. Gouiri wants to lead the counter and drive at the defence, this is where he’s most dangerous. He has tight control at speed and uses feints and stepovers effectively to glide past defenders effortlessly at times and looks to cut in. In static 1v1s, he is usually able to create space but isn’t that great at getting past him, but will often draw a foul. He takes lots of small touches with his laces and is patient, wanting to lure in the defender before shifting right. The only issue is that because he’s so right footed he can be a bit predictable and rarely goes left.
His ball striking isn’t great and I didn’t see him generate much power with his shots. However he was a composed finisher who had some smart finishes but overall did underperform his expected goals by 27% this season. I noticed that he slipped quite a few times while shooting which could be a technique or balance issue. His shot map is impressive though but needs to threaten more from tight angles and not being able to cut onto his left means he can be a bit limited and predictable.
As I’ve talked about, Gouiri’s defensive game is very poor. His defensive positioning and work rate is poor as well as his pressing. In transition he switches off and lacks intensity. In attack, his positioning and movement both need work but I believe these are very fixable issues and if he can improve them, it will improve his game a lot.
In the box, he takes up some decent positions and looks to be in the defender’s blindspot. But, he doesn’t adjust his positioning to the rest of play and doesn’t attempt many runs to get ahead of the defender or into space and can be quite static. He tends to hug the sideline but will occupy the half space when his full back pushes up high. He’ll then position himself within the block between the lines but I don’t think he positions himself well enough at times, wanting the ball when he’s not accessible and not finding enough space and lacking awareness and being lazy by not adjusting. Also, he doesn’t react to the positioning of the striker enough. Dolberg tended to drift wide to support play at times but Gouiri didn’t then adjust his position to be an option behind or move centrally and occupy the centre backs and Nice then lacked presence in the centre. When playing as the striker, he also wants to drift to the left wing as much as possible, again leaving them without a presence up front.
On the counter, he wants to receive to feet and drive at the defence, which plays to his strengths and is where he thrives. But at times he needed to be making runs ahead of the ball but dropped to receive and carry, which slowed the attack and killed momentum. If he did run ahead, he ran in straight lines and again lacked creativity with his movement.
Gouiri is confident and calm on the ball. He shows his frustration at times and can be heated but isn’t that communicative overall. His body language can be a bit casual at times and he lacks grit and aggression in challenges. I thought that his decision making on the ball was decent but, as discussed above, off the ball he was lacking and didn’t show the highest footballing IQ. I would have liked to see him try and get more involved in the game but was happy to play a passive role at times and I think his concentration is lacking, switching off too easily and letting the game pass him by. For this reason, I think he’s much more suited to playing as a winger, but ideally in a role more suited to him than his current one.
Conclusion and His Future
Overall, with the right coaching I think Gouiri could have a really bright future. He has a lot of potential and is still a solid player at the moment but I think he has quite a bit to develop. Nice didn’t strike me as a particularly well coached team to be honest, but if they hire Galtier that should change. Galtier will demand a lot more from him out of possession and I hope that we see him develop under the new coach.
He’s good on the counter, a confident ball carrier whose passing can look effortless at times. He’s solid at set pieces and can play on the left or up front. Nice have a very good player on their hands but there’s quite a few areas to develop. In possession, he can be a very dangerous player and a player who can create and score from the wing which is very valuable and I’ll be keen to see how he develops. In terms of his style, at times he reminded me of both Son and Grealish at times and is between the two stylistically and I wouldn’t directly compare him to either.
He needs to improve his game out of possession to really kick on to a top side where you can’t be a liability defensively and probably need to press. He can be a bit one dimensional at times and needs to be smarter off the ball. He has all the tools to be a top player but need to develop, but at 21 he has time.
I think his future would be best served staying with Nice for another season, or at least in Ligue 1. I think he’d suit Italian sides but would struggle with the intensity of Germany or England and would have to really step up his attitude and work rate but is one to watch for big clubs and could be great with some good coaching. It’s also worth nothing this his is his first season in senior football and has had a good return for Nice.