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Who is Amine Gouiri? Liverpool target leading Nice's Champions League charge

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Nice striker Amine Gouiri, who has been linked with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester City in recent weeks.

Liverpool are reportedly interested in striking a deal for Nice forward Amine Gouiri.

The 21-year-old is currently thriving under the tutelage of Ligue 1 title winner Christophe Galtier at the Allianz Riviera, but he has proven his class under a number of different managers early on in his career.

Gouiri could represent an ideal alternative to Kylian Mbappe for Liverpool, but Real Madrid and Manchester City have also been tipped to move for the Nice striker in 2022.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Gouiri and what Liverpool fans could expect from the starlet should he elect to move to Merseyside.


Background

Amine Gouiri pictured for Nice in August 2021© Reuters

Born in Bourgoin-Jallieu, Gouiri is a product of Lyon's youth academy and quickly rose through the ranks to make a name for himself in the B team, but he did not have to wait long to make his debut for the senior side.

The striker's first appearance for Les Gones' first team came against Montpellier HSC in November 2017, and he also made his European debut before turning 18 - playing the final 15 minutes of a Europa League Group E defeat to Atalanta BC.

After featuring 10 times for Lyon's senior side in the 2017-18 season, Gouiri would continue to make appearances here and there for the first team but truly caught the eye in the 2019-20 National 2 with the B team, registering eight goals and three assists in 12 games.

Gouiri featured 15 times in total for Lyon but left without a first-team goal or assist to his name, joining Nice in a £6.3m deal in the summer of 2020, and his value has certainly skyrocketed since pulling on the red and black jersey.


Recent form

Nice's Kasper Dolberg celebrates scoring their first goal with Amine Gouiri on September 12, 2021© Reuters

Gouiri did not have to wait long to get his Nice career up and running, bagging a brace in his Ligue 1 debut for the club against Lens before going on to register a total of 12 goals and seven assists from 34 games in the 2020-21 league season.

Les Aiglons endured a challenging season under Patrick Vieira and Adrien Ursea both domestically and in Europe, but Gouiri's prowess on the continental stage was also evident, as he netted in four consecutive Europa League group stage games against Slavia Prague (2), Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Bayer Leverkusen.

Unsurprisingly crowned the club's player of the year last season, Gouiri has already established himself as a key fixture under Galtier and has claimed seven goal contributions (five goals, two assists) from as many matches in the 2021-22 season so far, including a goal and assist in the memorable 4-0 thrashing of champions Lille.

The 21-year-old's attacking capabilities have helped propel Nice into the top four of the rankings at this early stage, and his finishing, crossing, movement and link-up play have all caught the eye of admirers over the past 12 months.


International experience

Amine Gouiri in action for France Under-20s in May 2019© Reuters

Simply put, Gouiri has been a phenomenon when pulling on the blue jersey. The Under-17 level is where the footballing world first started paying attention to the striker, who scored all five of his side's goals in a friendly thrashing of Belgium before the European Championships and World Cup came calling.

Gouiri was unable to lead France Under-17s to Euros glory in 2017, but he finished as the tournament's top goalscorer with nine strikes from five matches to force his way into the team of the tournament alongside Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden.

The then-Lyon starlet proceeded to hit five goals at the Under-17 World Cup later that year as France lost to Spain in the last-16, and he has since led the line for the Under-21s after netting on his debut for Les Bleuets against Albania in September 2019.

Gouiri has struggled to replicate his previous remarkable tallies at younger age levels - currently sitting at five goals from 14 games for the Under-21s - but it is only a matter of time before Didier Deschamps comes calling should he continue his rapid rise over the coming months.

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Amine Gouiri pictured for Nice in August 2021
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