Photo via fourfourtwo.com
Like Burkina Faso's Alain Traoré, who scored a late equaliser against Nigeria, Younès Belhanda isn't fully-fit for the Africa Cup of Nations.
So keep that in mind when you're watching him play for a technically gifted Morocco side that has exited the group stages in their last three ACONs.
Angola should have beaten Morocco with Guilherme Afonso missing right in front of goals and Manucho fluffing a point-blank header.
Within 10 minutes of coming on as a sub, Younès dinked his way into Angola's penalty box but mistimed his shot.
If Belhanda was using Morocco like Kevin-Prince Boateng using Ghana, then Younès would have pulled out of the tournament due to injury.
But, since he's still with the Moroccan squad, it reaffirms his patriotism, especially with statements like this (via Tim Gow at Express.co.uk): "We have no right to fail this time around. We have a debt to the Moroccan people after what happened at the last tournament."
Belhanda must start against Cape Verde given this is a must-win game for the Moroccans.
Whilst he's in South Africa, he's probably on the phone to his agent every few hours, with his future still up in the air.
Turkish giants Fenerbahçe, who signed former Ligue 1 star Moussa Sow, are negotiating with Montpellier over the possibility of buying Younès (per Turkisk-football.com).
MHSC outspoken president Louis Nicollin will only sell Belhanda to an English or German club.
His gripe with Fenerbahçe seems to be monetary-based (from L'Equipe via Sky Sports): "They wanted to pay us in three installments. They can keep their money."
Tottenham Hotspur are still in contention to sign Younès, according to talkSPORT. Why would Spurs want him?
The London club would have crossed out the Moroccan's name when Daniel Levy sealed the deal for Lewis Holtby, who plays in the same position as Belhanda, and is a way better ball-winner (wins back possession 8.7 times in league/UCL play compared to Younès' 2.3).
The Liverpool Echo are reporting that Everton are interested in Belhanda.
This will only happen if Marouane Fellaini leaves on a big-money transfer to a club like Chelsea.
Should Eintracht Frankfurt fail to qualify for Europe whilst the Toffees get a UEFA Champions League spot, going for Alexander Meier is a logical move.
He plays the same role as Fellaini for Frankfurt, not to mention the German is stronger and technically better than the Belgian.
Also, Everton don't exactly hold Montpellier in the highest regard, after Ibrahima Bakayoko flopped badly coupled with Olivier Giroud's struggles at Arsenal this season.
Here's an excerpt from Philippa Booth's wonderful profile on Younès for French Football Weekly:
He spoke of not wanting to flash his cash (citing, amongst other things, religious reasons), and referring to buying a Porsche as 'unnecessary', with an air of regret.
He does seem to want Montpellier to profit, however, citing Eden Hazard as a good model to follow—"I hope that one day, Montpellier can cash in, thanks to me."
Translation: please sell me to a rich club, so I can flash my cash
If you are to believe the words of Nicollin, Younès actually wants more money (from L'Equipe via Sky Sports):
Belhanda and Mapou, it was set in their heads what they wanted. Do I want them now? No. They showed a lack of professionalism, which is evident in view of the wages they were seeking.
Don't hesitate to comment below with your opinion of Belhanda.
Article Cliff Notes
- Younès Belhanda: talented but troubled footballer with anger management issues.
- Has elite potential but not as good as some people think he is.
- Isn't fully-fit at ACON, so you may not see the best of him.
- No reason for Spurs to buy him after signing Holtby.
- Better alternatives than Younès for Everton.
- Fenerbahçe want him but MHSC president will only sell to English/German clubs.
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