Take note, Chelsea & Man Utd! Cherki hailed as GAME-CHANGER

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 23 Mar 2024 16:07 GMT
  • 4 min read
Rayan Cherki, Chelsea, Man Utd

Rayan Cherki emphatically proved why he is one of Europe's most unique talents against the Ivory Coast on Friday.

The Lyon wonderkid is having a tough season. Out of favour at club level over alleged discipline problems and having struggled to reach previous performance levels, Cherki has found himself on the substitutes' bench more often than not.

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The 20-year-old needs a change of scenery and there is no shortage of suitors. Chelsea, who had already tried to sign him last summer, are interested, while Man Utd are also attentive to the situation, as revealed by FootballTransfers.

Indeed, it seems the youngster wants out of his hometown club. If his previous two performances are anything to go by, Cherki is trying to put himself into the shop window.

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In his last Ligue 1 game, he came off the bench against Toulouse to score his first league goal of the season and he also notched an assist. After the game, he was rewarded with a belated call-up to Thierry Henry's France U23 squad, having initially missed the cut due to mostly warming the bench this term.

Rayan Cherki
© IMAGO - Rayan Cherki

Cherki a game changer

After adding him to the squad, Henry challenged Cherki to consistently perform at the level everybody knows he can perform at and it seems he took this advice to heart. Though he only started on the bench against the Ivory Coast on Friday, all the talk was about him after the match.

Upon being introduced in the 68th minute, Cherki immediately took the game by the scruff of the neck and made an instant impact, needing just four minutes to set up Wilson Odobert who equalised for France to make it 2-2.

The 20-year-old attacking midfielder was dangerous throughout his cameo and showed what a unique talent he is, playing like a traditional number ten, a position that is of course rarely used these days.

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Cherki's substitution was hailed as a game-changer by his teammates afterwards. Khephren Thuram said of him: "He is there between the lines, he offers a lot, he always wants the ball. We know the quality of Rayan. He’s a player who goes forward a lot and can be very effective."

Desire Doue, who scored two of France's three goals in the 3-2 win, stated: "Rayan is a player who is very creative, who brings a lot offensively so obviously that helps the whole team. We knew how to get more chances because he knew how to bring this madness, he allowed us to score the second goal with his pass for Wilson."

"He is a player who does a lot of good. It's great to have him on the pitch. He's a player who changes a lot of things in a match, sometimes he annoys but that's his style of play, when he plays like that, he's just fantastic.”

Coach Henry also spoke about Cherki: "Rayan, when he plays like that, it's just impossible to defend against him. But you have to play like that all the time, his entry against Toulouse, his entry this evening, no matter where he was, he took the ball, he played forward, he reassured everyone."

Performances like the one against Toulouse and Ivory Coast will also reassure his suitors.

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