Scout Report: Zakaria Bakkali
Date of Birth: Jan 26, 1996 (20 Yrs)
Current Club: Valencia
Position: Attacking Midfield/Left wing
Current Transfer Value: €4m (Credit – TransferMarket)
For a 20-year old player, Zakaria Bakkali has had quite an eventful journey in his professional career so far. He is currently playing for Valencia, but his path leading up to the Mestalla was filled with controversies and stories of bad behavior during his stint with PSV.
Despite turning the believers in to his haters, such is Bakkali’s talent that he has never been far away from a call-up for his national team Belgium. Today we take a closer look in to Zakaria Bakkali’s skills, weak points and future prospects as a professional player.
Zakaria Bakkali – A brief history
As I earlier mentioned, Bakkali has had an eventful career so far, which started when he was just 12 years old and made a huge name in Belgium’s U16 side. His abilities on the ball started to make a lot of noise in European circuit.
PSV were quick to pounce on the opportunity to sign the gifted Bakkali, who was destined for success at that time. Four years later, Zakaria Bakkali signed a 3-year professional contract with PSV and started to train with first team players at the age of 16.
Soon after, he made his International debut for Belgium at the tender age of 17. Just when things were looking bright and sunny for the Belgian startlet, his attitude towards the game changed for worse.
So much so, PSV coach Philipe Cocu got frustrated with his protege and decided to demote him to second division football, where he got a ban as well. As it turned out, at the age of 19, Bakkali was banned from playing football by PSV and Jong PSV, and his International future looked bleak as well.
However, club around Europe knew that, despite his antics, Zakaria Bakkali had a footballer hidden in him somewhere, and in came Valencia and took him away on a free transfer. Since then, he has been the standout performer in a struggling side at Mestalla, and was very close to an International call-up, but for an unfortunate injury.
Earlier in the week, it was confirmed that Bakkali was to miss 4 months of action and cannot feature in Marc Wilmots’ Euro 2016 squad. Having said that, to see Bakkali playing again is a good sign for Belgian football as he will certainly be an option in coming years.
Zakaria Bakkali – Style of play and strengths
Like many of the young players at his age, Bakkali’s most telling asset is his pace and ability to run at opponents. Bakkali is good on his weaker foot as well, which makes him a dangerous attacker to contain.
Bakkali prefers to operate from either from the central attacking position or coming in from left wing to affect the play for his team. He plays with flair and has that X-factor which can change the game in an instance.
At present, Valencia are missing him dearly as he was the key creator in a team which does not have too many players of his quality or caliber.
Zakaria Bakkali – Weakness to be worked upon
As stated earlier, football wise, he is one of the finest to have come in recent years, but it is his attitude that needs fine tuning. Perhaps he needs to look at the bad seeds in his entourage, who are filling his head with wrong details to focus on.
He is one of the finest prospects, we have seen emerged in recent times, and if he does not work on his off-the-field attitude, he could go from being promising to be one of those, who did not make it big despite their immense potential.
Zakaria Bakkali – What does the future hold?
In Zakaria Bakkali’s case, I would say, more than future it is he, who commands what will happen to his career in coming years. At a very early age, he is standing at a crossroad of his career, where he needs sound decision making and just focus on the game.
His next transfer move will tell us a lot about the Belgian. He joined Valencia on a free transfer, and considering how the La Liga side are struggling, other teams would like to sign him next season or the one after that.
If he works on his game, a team like Barcelona or Manchester United would come for him, else he can end up playing for Sporting Gijon or a team with very little exposure to European football.
Image Credit: Getty, Video Credit: YouTube