As we make our way into the “make or break” point in the season for clubs, either working to avoid the drop or challenge for UEFA cup competitions, each is on the lookout for a player that can make the difference in this January transfer window.
This year, Burnley is one team that has punched above their weight. After finishing just six points above relegation last year, they find themselves in seventh place, and at times this season, they’ve even breathed the the rarefied air of fourth.
However, Burnley have scored only 19 goals in the campaign thus far. Only three other teams have scored fewer. To sustain their place (or even rise back into contention for Europa), they will need a new attacking threat. Burnley are hoping that Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, borrowed from Tottenham, will be that player.
Robbie Brady had been a major driving force behind Burnley’s success, scoring 3 goals and assisting on 2, but his December injury has blunted Burnley’s attack. With his return date still unknown, the Clarets need an alternative creative force (as if they didn’t already, having scored only 19 times). N’Koudou may be that player.
Who Is N’Koudou?
N’Koudou was born in Versailles France on February 13, 1995. At 5’9” (174 cm) tall and 150 lbs (68 kg), N’Koudou has a smaller than average EPL physique, which could be an issue in the rough English game. Like Raheem Sterling in his early career, N’Koudou may find himself frequently muscled off the ball. However, also like Sterling, N’Koudou has the potential to mature into a top EPL talent.
GKN began his senior career with Nantes in Ligue 1, scoring 3 goals in 40 games in all competitions. In 2015 N’Koudou went to Marseille on a £1 million transfer, scoring 10 goals in 41 games in all competitions. His form for Marseille earned him a 30th place finish in UEFA’s Best Player in Europe poll, and an £11 million transfer to Tottenham. In addition to his club experience, N’Koudou has appeared in the French National Team six times, scoring one goal.
What Can We Expect from N’Koudou?
Georges-Kevin is known for speed and skilled dribbling, making marauding runs down the wing. He is a player who wants to commit defenders and create from the flanks by either whipping in crosses or leading a striker to goal with a cutting pass. He can hold onto the ball very well and buy time for wing backs and midfielders to be involved in the attack. When he is in the box, N’Koudou seems to frequently find the right place at the right time for a rebound, and he is very skilled at getting his shots off.
Yet he failed to earn pitch time at Tottenham, appearing just 17 times and starting only twice in 2016-17 + 2017-18 seasons in all competitions. The player wants minutes, his club knows he needs development, and Burnley desperately needs an attacker, so the loan is a triple-win for all involved. After speaking with Sean Dyche, and at the further urging of Kieran Trippier, he was convinced to join Burnley for the remainder of this season. Interestingly, the loan terms did not include a purchase clause, which suggests that GKN still figures into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.
N’Koudou will be a bit unusual at Burnley. They don’t have a trickster with speed to burn who can also beat defenses with a killer pass. Burnley needs attacking weapons since their strikers are misfiring. So far this season, Burnleys top scorer, Chris Wood, has been somewhat quiet, scoring only 4 goals. The man who led the Championship last year is for sure not delivering what Burnley expected when they spent €16.4 million on him this year. With N’Koudou, Wood may turn it around. Given that N’Koudou is good at delivering crosses, and a striker like Chris Wood is good at finishing them, it makes sense that both Wood and N’Koudou would become fantasy assets, each helping the prospects of the other.
Where Does N’Koudou Fit in Your Fantasy Plans?
His substitute performance on Saturday suggests that he could be good value for money at his current Fantrax price ($1 in midfield at the time of this writing). On Official FPL, GKN goes for £5.4, so for that format he needs to prove he can produce before taking the risk. His creativity energized his side, and he suffered one foul, made an accurate cross, and won a corner for a total of 5 Fantrax points in just 27 minutes. Supporters flocked to twitter to acknowledge the threat that he added to the attack.
Only bright spark from today was I thought Nkoudou looked lively when he came on— Richard Steele (@Steeley_BFC) January 13, 2018
Nkoudou has started very well. All Burnley at moment. Feel a goal is coming #twitterclarets— Niall (@Crusty_Crouton) January 13, 2018
GKN impressed for sure, and since Burnley’s starters were unable to score against Crystal Palace, I bet he starts GW-24 when Burnley host Manchester United.