Le50 2016: Adam Ounas – Girondins de Bordeaux
“An interesting player with explosive qualities” is how ex-Bordeaux coach Willy Sagnol referred to Adam Ounas on his exciting start to his professional footballing career at the tail end of 2015. The young Franco-Algerian was not exactly touted for a breakthrough, though somehow managed to weave his way into his Bordeaux squad heading into the 2015-16 campaign.
It was at the Stade du Moustoir, early in the season, that Ounas’ star began to shine in full view of the French viewing public. Little heard of previously, he came on for Diego Rolan in the second half for a Bordeaux side bested by Lorient. But if they took anything from that game, it was coming to realise the 19-year-old’s massive potential in the top tier.
Picking the ball up deep into the Lorient half, Ounas weaved his way past a couple of defenders with his electric dribbling ability, before laying off the ball on the wing. He then raced forward into the box with great anticipation of Poundje’s cross, before sending a looping header past the goalkeeper.
Yes, it might not have mattered in the end (Bordeaux lost 3-2), but in minutes, the young forward had made more of an impact than his Girondins team-mates. Naturally, it earned him another bite of the cherry.
This time, at home with Bordeaux struggling against rock-bottom Troyes, Sagnol turned to his man of the moment, coming on for Wahbi Khazri, usually the side’s creator-in-chief. On a failed free-kick routine that was poorly dealt with by the Troyes defence, Ounas – just inside the area – set the ball superbly before lashing a sweet left-footed effort that slammed past the goalkeeper. It was another late second-half goal, and this time had earned Bordeaux a much-needed three points.
The Lorient game gave us a glimpse of Ounas potential, taking over the Troyes victory cemented his place as a membe of the first-team. Since that day, Ounas has featured in all but four Ligue 1 fixtures. Moreover, with Khazri’s sale in the January transfer window, it has enabled the 19-year-old to cement his place in the starting 11. Considering where he was back in August, it marks a superb promotion for a player well in his ascendancy.
Ounas is a very versatile attacker, able to ply his trade across any of the forward positions – on either wing, or in the centre. He has featured more prominently in the middle as a no.10 after the sale of Khazri, having initially started on the right. However, his penchant for cutting into the middle suggests this is a favoured position. Blessed with pace and a high level of dribbling quality, he has the skillset of a tricky opponent, even for the more defensively-minded world of Ligue 1.
Nevertheless, it is his debut season, and while Ounas has shown flashes of brilliance, he has not been helped by profligacy either. And this is something that did not escape Sagnol, who lambasted his young player for ‘excesses’, though noted that this is something that young and inexperienced players do in their formative years.
He has not exactly been helped by the chaos Bordeaux find themselves in either. Sagnol was let go after a hapless campaign where the 2009 champions sit precariously above the relegation zone. For a young player, this sort of environment is not conducive to proper development, though this sort of atmosphere can really make a player in terms of steeliness.
Five goals and two assists in 20 games is a fine initial return for the young star, who is already being touted for international recognition with Algeria. At this important juncture however, it is important for Ounas to keep his feet firmly on the ground and replicate the sort of form which has seen him burst to prominence in Ligue 1 for a struggling side.