Bafetimbi Gomis: Scouting Lyon's Freescoring Striker

Jonathan JohnsonFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

Gomis is finally delivering for Lyon this season
Gomis is finally delivering for Lyon this seasonScott Heavey/Getty Images

Although it seems like he has been around forever, Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis is only 27 years old. Still short of his prime, the French international has been tearing up the scoring charts in France's Ligue 1 this season.

In fact, had it not been for the presence of Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gomis would have likely found himself top of the pile with 10 goals so far. The former Saint-Etienne prodigy has come into his own this season having never quite lived up to his prolific billing since his 2009 transfer. Making up for lost time, Gomis is now excelling, with Lyon's scoring burden resting firmly on his shoulders.

Four goals short of his record Ligue 1 tally for les Gones and still in December, Gomis has shown his full potential this season with predatory displays to lead the line for Remi Garde's men. More consistent than strike partner Lisandro Lopez, it appears that chairman Jean-Michel Aulas' threats of cutting loose underperforming stars has sparked Gomis into life. The Frenchman has accounted for an impressive 33 percent of Lyon's goals so far this season, including a hat-trick against Marseille in their recent 4-1 win at Stade Velodrome.

Linked with moves to Rubin Kazan and Fulham over the past year, Gomis is a player who will be in high demand come January and for good reason. He is in the best form of his life and on course to set a record high personal league tally (current best is 16 for ASSE in 2008), but Aulas' insistence on cutting the wage bill at OL means he is probably already seeing the Euro signs.

With the Frenchman putting himself in the shop window with his form, teams will be seeing a player who potentially is the all-round package as a striker.

The 27-year-old is fast, strong and good in the air, technically impressive despite a sometimes cumbersome appearance, and his eye for spectacular strikes never fails to impress (just witness his thumping winner over former club ASSE in last season's Rhone Derby).

A French international since 2008, his career with les Bleus has stagnated since he burst onto the scene. Failure to carry his prolific for for les Verts across the Rhone to rivals Lyon has meant that Gomis only has 10 appearances and three goals to his name internationally.

Whilst his direct, brute-like style suits Lyon as a starter, he is perfect as an impact substitute for France. Didier Deschamps has recently recalled Gomis to the squad after he fell out of favour under previous coach Laurent Blanc, taking the spot behind starters Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema.

A large part of the Frenchman's success this season, though, should be accredited to his teammates, particularly Clement Grenier and the evergreen Steed Malbranque who have provided a steady supply line in the continued absence of Yoann Gourcuff.

Gomis has profited from Lyon's more expansive style of play this season, especially evident when playing at the Stade Gerland, where he has bagged six of his 10 strikes this season. Paired with Lopez he is predominantly a predator but unlike the Argentine, that doesn´t mean that he can´t provide. The link between Gomis and Grenier has worked both ways, with the striker also laying on goals for the midfielder this season as well as the other way round.

Substituted with five minutes to play at the Parc des Princes, Gomis' frustration at being Lyon's main outlet was palpable. Lyon's problem isn't getting the striker to score, but finding someone who can regularly find the net to play alongside him to bag a goal when he doesn't.

Lopez is a proven goalscorer but has been too inconsistent this season; when he plays, Gomis is regularly the more effective of the pair. Assuming that the Gerland outfit hold onto him, this is where the return of Gourcuff should be empowering. Lyon lack genuine star quality as it is but without the former Bordeaux playmaker, there is added strain on Gomis and Lopez. Once the Frenchman returns, expect to see Gomis continue to bang them in, whilst the Argentine also benefits from the added support from just behind them.

That will be the biggest problem though—IF they keep him. Lyon have become a selling club over recent years and Gomis' hot form has attracted interest from all across Europe. Aulas will no doubt sell to the highest bidder and at the moment, selling his star striker is the obvious choice to keep the books balanced. Keep an eye on his movements come January.