Scouting Report: Will Liverpool Target Wahbi Khazri as Adam Lallana Alternative?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJune 7, 2014

Paris Saint Germain's Lucas, right, battles for the ball with Bastia's Wahbi Khazri during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Bastia, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Paris Saint Germain won on a 4-0 score.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Remy de la Mauviniere/Associated Press

Liverpool will give up trying to sign Adam Lallana if Southampton continue to play hardball, per ESPN's Richard Jolly, so could Bastia's Wahbi Khazri be an alternative transfer target?

To cover that hypothetical, here is a scouting report on the 23-year-old Tunisian international. 

 

Positives

Khazri is a 6'0", 168-pound footballer, who can start on either flank as a wide attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 and has filled in as a left wing-back in a 3-5-2. 

Source: Ligue1.com.

Source: UEFA.com.

Lallana's ability to interchange across midfield is a trait Khazri can emulate. 

Khazri is a tricky proposition for opposing defenders and a skillful entertainer, as evident when he nutmegged Evian Thonon Gaillard substitute Nadjib Baouia and delivered a rabona cross.

Source: Ligue1.com.

What makes Khazri lethal is his long-range shooting. 

He scored a splendid inswinging shot against Lyon. 

Source: Ligue1.com.

Khazri flicked the ball up to evade Lille centre-back Marko Basa and hit a blistering instep drive past Lille goalkeeper Steeve Elana.

Source: Ligue1.com.

Khazri caught out Reims goalkeeper Kossi Agassa and Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, two of Ligue 1's best shot-stoppers, with audacious free-kicks.  

Source: Ligue1.com.

Source: Ligue1.com.

Khazri displayed his strength when he bounced off Montpellier centre-back Daniel Congre's challenge and slotted the ball past Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren.

Source: Ligue1.com.

 

Negatives

You see a lot of Ricardo Quaresma in Khazri, who was given the keys to Bastia's attack.

What made Quaresma a sensation was having the green light and creative freedom at Porto. 

Inevitably, he needed a team to run through him, and he did not develop as a team-first player.

He was more interested in making the highlight-reel play than the right play.  

He was a square peg in a round hole at Inter Milan, despite then-Inter manager and compatriot Jose Mourinho pushing then-owner Massimo Moratti to buy Quaresma.

"We don't need Quaresma," Moratti said in 2008, per Nadia Carminati at Sky Sports. "I don't think Quaresma will arrive."

Three days later, Moratti signed Quaresma for €18.6/£15.1 million

Quaresma later revealed signing for Inter was a big-career mistake.

ANTONIO CALANNI/Associated Press

"As soon as I arrived in [Inter] Milan, it was made clear to me that I was only signed because Mourinho wanted me," Quaresma said in 2010, per Publico (h/t Football Italia). "It would've been better if I had closed my eyes and only woken up now."

Khazri plays with a devil-may-care attitude and is prone to inconsistent spells. 

He endured a 15-game run without a goal or an assist in Ligue 1. 

Khazri has world-class technique, yet conceded possession 23.4 percent of the time trying to pass. 

He is a volume shooter, who has an inefficient shooting accuracy percentage (41), per Squawka.com

Source: Squawka.com.

Is Khazri a big fish in a small pond like Quaresma

 

Bottom Line

(League Only)Adam LallanaWahbi Khazri
   
Goals96
Assists62
Key Passes Per Game1.91.3

Khazri's statistics are in the ballpark of Lallana, who is not value-for-money at £25 million, per John Percy at the Telegraph.

Bastia have a history of underselling world-class prospects. 

Khazri possesses world-class ability.

He would be a more economically efficient signing than Lallana for Liverpool. 

 

Statistics via WhoScored.com.

@allanjianga