Ellyes Skhiri is a 21-year-old Tunisian U23 international. We know this for a fact. We also know that he usually plays as a defensive midfielder for club team Montpellier. But what’s his Hogwarts House? His Patronus? His stance on the emancipation of house elves? Nobody seems to have any answers to these hard-hitting journalistic queries, so Viola Nation will try to shed some light on, well, something entirely different.
Skhiri’s established himself as a starter at the base of the midfield in just his second year with the senior side. He’s started 18 matches for la Paillade, missing just one through injury, and has gone the full 90 minutes in all but 2 of those, accumulating a goal (in the 3-0 route of PSG) and a single booking. He also recently made his Tunisian U23 debut, and should be in consideration for his full international bow very soon.
So what does he do? Well, he’s a jack-of-all-trades sort of player. He’s happiest in defensive midfield, but can play further forward if necessary, or even fill in at rightback or centerback. He’s got decent pace, is good in the air, anticipates danger well, keeps possession neatly, and packs a pretty good shot. The downside is that while he’s a jack-of-all trades, he’s a master of none.
His contract runs until 2020, so Montpellier will probably stand firm on retaining him for anything under €5 million. Again, he’s a good player, but his ceiling is probably as the sort of versatile depth option every good squad needs. Think someone like Massimo Gobbi in his Viola prime: quietly competent but certainly not the type to carry you to glory. And €5 mil is a bit steep for a player who’s yet to quite grow into that. There’s no telling if this is for real, though, or just another feint by Corvino. And all those questions? They still go unanswered.