Elye Wahi – the teen striker taking Ligue 1 by storm – by Calum Scullion
France’s Ligue 1 does not lack young talent, in recent years we have seen the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni and many others come through French academies. The league is a constant talent factory and I would like to bring your attention to another one of these talents that are destined for big things in the future, Elye Wahi.
Elye Wahi was born in Courcouronnes in France in 2003 and he joined the local club Suresnes at the age of 7. Wahi decided to join Caen’s academy at the age of 13, after a number of years there he left Caen in the summer of 2018 and reportedly had a number of offers from English teams but he chose to sign for Montpellier.
Elye made his debut for the Montpellier first team against Metz in December 2020, his first goal for the club came in his second appearance in a game against Monaco, he became Montpellier’s second youngest goal scorer in the club’s history.
He finished the 20/21 season with 3 goals and 1 assist in 18 appearances for Montpellier, his numbers improved in the 21/22 campaign as he ended up with 10 goals and 2 assists in 36 appearances, so far this season he has 6 goals and 1 assist in 14 appearances so he is definitely on track to beat his 10 goals from the previous year.
Elye Wahi is a striker and he has the best natural quality that most strikers possess, great shooting and finishing, he has shown a wide range of finishes with the goals he has scored, from volleys to headers, showing that he is comfortable shooting from any angle and it looks as though it almost comes naturally to him. Wahi currently averages 1.9 shots per game and he averages a goal every 196 minutes which shows how dangerous and a goal threat he is.
While his finishing is his main strength, his overall play style also includes: he likes to play a lot of short passes, he cuts inside a lot and he can also sometimes be a threat from corners and free-kicks due to his height and natural finishing ability.
While his finishing is his main on the ball strength, off the ball his movement is scarily good, he loves to attack the space behind defenders and run off of them, his movement often creates space between him and the defender and allows a teammate to play either a ball over the top or a through ball which then usually leads to Wahi having a high quality shot on goal. His movement and athleticism are integral parts of his game and he uses them very well to create opportunities for himself or his teammates.
Elye doesn’t only use his pace and athleticism to help him offensively, he also works very hard defensively and you’ll often find him tracking back and helping his teammates try to regain possession when they are on the back foot.
He is a good finisher and an overall very promising young striker however, like all young players he has some things he could improve on. While on the ball his finishing is great, he could really do more to become a link up option for his teammates, as previously stated, he loves to run off the defenders and has a great sense of positioning while receiving through balls but he’s not the best option for his teammates when they just need a quick outlet to link up the play and take the pressure off.
He could also improve his dribbling and holding on to the ball ability. His dribbling is fine when he is one on one with a defender or running towards goal but it’s when he plays with back goal and the area becomes crowded that problems arise, it often leads to him losing possession or almost panicking and trying to force a pass before he should. Overall Wahi needs to improve his hold up play and back to goal game to take himself to the next level, if he can do this he will unlock many more opportunities for goals and assists.
Overall review and career future
There is no doubt that Elye Wahi is a very talented player and the goals he’s scored in Ligue 1 prove that he can handle himself at a very high level while being such a young player and these attributes alone could take him to the top, however I do feel that if he can iron out his weaknesses from his game and improve the creativity and technical side of his game he will be destined for the top of European football and become a household name.
He was linked with numerous clubs throughout the summer transfer window of 2022, Rennes were quoted a price of 25 million euros if they wished to acquire his services and he has been linked with multiple clubs in the English Premier League, so there is definitely already interest from numerous strong leagues for him.
I feel like if he keeps up his goalscoring form and continues to have a good season he could definitely get a move in the summer transfer window of 2023 but personally I don’t think he should be in a hurry to leave Montpellier as he seems to be developing nicely and another season or two at Montpellier could be just what he needs to take his game to the next level.
Elye Wahi is a great young player already proving himself at such a high level and he will be a really interesting player to watch over the next couple of seasons and to see how far he can get in his career.