This is taken from the GFFN 100, our leading 150-page FREE publication ranking the best 100 players in France, see the full list and read every profile right here.

For the want of a better cliché, Amine Gouiri’s year has been a tale of two halves. This time last year, the Frenchman’s stock was at an all-time high, placing 16th in the 2021 edition of the GFFN 100 at the tender age of 21. In his second season at Nice since arriving in the summer of 2020, Gouiri had found the net eight times before the winter break, leaving him just a single goal behind PSG’s Kylian Mbappé at Christmas.

However, when the former Lyon man returned in January, the magic seemed to have worn off. Aside from goals against Ligue 1 strugglers Metz and Coupe de France minnows Versailles, the 22-year-old failed to register in 2022. Having underperformed his expected goals by 3.1 goals between February and August, the U21 international was clearly in need of a system reboot. And this is precisely what he got via a deadline day move to Rennes, having been swapped by the club for a more experienced striker in Gaëtan Laborde.

Upon his arrival in Brittany, Gouiri was thrown straight into his predecessor’s role, starting as a number nine against Troyes just a few days after his transfer. Over the last three months, he has played 13 of his 15 Rennes games in that same position, a stark contrast to the wide left position he often took up with Les Aiglons.

While Gouiri has always had the capacity to play as a centre-forward, having done so in his early Lyon days, this clarification of his role has clearly done him some good. Since his move north, Gouiri’s finishing has been striking, accumulating eight goals in all competitions from chances amounting to just 5.9 xG. For a player who initially attracted attention due to his eye-catching dribbling, the Lyon academy graduate seems to be evolving into a ruthless finishing machine.

Both he and his club will hope that this year’s extended winter break will not have the same effect as the last. Having scored 20% of all of Rennes’ goals this season, the Breton side will be relying on Gouiri’s input to continue their successful Ligue 1 and Europa League campaigns. Should Gouiri want to pursue an international career with Les Bleus, having graduated from the U21s, he too will be hoping more goals come his way.

Jack Wadding | GFFN

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