Scouting Report: Can West Bromwich Albion's Thievy Bifouma Light Up EPL?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentFebruary 6, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 01:  Thievy Bifouma of RCD Espanyol looks on during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Real Betis Balompie at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on September 1, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion's Espanyol loanee Thievy Bifouma could come into his own in the English Premier League, so here is a scouting report on the 21-year-old forward. 


What Makes Thievy Lethal


Espanyol manager Javier Aguirre started Thievy on the right and the left.

However, Aguirre mainly used Thievy as a super-sub, who was utilised off the bench in 81.8 percent of his league games this season.

Thievy's primary asset is speed and that was one of West Brom manager Pepe Mel's first compliments of the Espanyol loanee, per West Brom's official website: "He is quick, can score goals and is able to play across the front three positions."

It took him several seconds to accelerate from inside his attacking half and deep into Valencia's defensive half.


When Espanyol beat Barcelona to win the 2011 Copa Catalunya, Thievy scythed through Barca's defence like Ronaldo Luis against Compostela. 

Source: Espanyol TV

Writing on Barca's official website, Roger Bogunya pinpointed Thievy as the "star of the show" and noted he had run "rings around Armando."

Another example of Thievy's agility was when he broke through Celta Vigo's offside trap, latched on to Javi Lopez's ambitious through ball and placed the ball past Celta goalkeeper Yoel.


It was a perfect finish and when you factor in Thievy's abnormally-high shooting accuracy (71; being able to finish with either feet is a big advantage), it is only a matter of time before he hits a purple patch. 


Thievy has balance, he bounces off challenges and can navigate in congested space which was displayed in the 2-1 defeat to Elche.

He swiftly turned away from Elche centre-back Lomban and left Javier Marquez flat-footed.

Thievy had nowhere to go and Lomban caught up, tussled with Thievy, who offloaded the ball to teammate Simao Sabrosa at the last second, having anticipated Elche right-back Damian Suarez diving in.

Before Simao released the ball to Sergio Garcia, Thievy got in front of Elche defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez.

Garcia completed a first-touch pass to Thievy, who had the yard of space after he eluded Sanchez, and placed the ball past Elche goalkeeper Manu Herrera.


Thievy was tough in competing with Lomban. Showed awareness to evade Suarez's tackle. Was smart to get in front of Sanchez. Composed in converting a goalscoring chance.

This sequence of events shows Thievy is not just a speedster.


Thievy Concerns

Thievy scored in his first two league games and then netted once from nine games because he is such an inconsistent player. 

He has the speed, the technical prowess and the shooting ability to be a world-beater, but does he have the mental will power to succeed? 

Espanyol management did not want to deal with Thievy's mood swings. 

It is a big red flag when a professional footballer decides to persistently abandon the playing group because he feels like it.

He needs to get a grip on reality and understand that in the real world, say if you are an accountant or a shelf-stacker, you get fired for pulling stunts like that. 

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 24:  Head coach Javier Aguirre of RCD Espanyol gives instructions to Thievy Bifouma of RCD Espanyol during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Valencia CF at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on August 24, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
David Ramos/Getty Images

"If we can't count on him [Thievy] in the team, the club will try to find the best option possible," Espanyol assistant manager Alfredo Tena said several weeks before Thievy was loaned out, per Inside Spanish Football. "The manager [Aguirre] has tried and has even been a little fatherly with Thievy, but there have been repeated breaches of club rules and we have to exercise authority."

It will be a tough task for Mel, West Brom's manager, to keep Thievy happy.

Should Mel be successful in gaining Thievy's trust, he could be a breakout star in the Premier League given how ludicrously talented he is.

Conversely, if Mel gets on the wrong side of Thievy, he will be an unneeded distraction at West Brom just like he was at Espanyol.



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