Is Lyon's Maxwel Cornet ready to shine in a more competitive league?
The French Ligue 1 has been one of the most interesting competitions in Europe this season. Despite Paris Saint-Germain gaining a sizable lead at the top over teams such as AS Monaco, Olympique Lyon and Marseille, the league contains several players worth watching outside PSG. So who are these current and future stars?
Cornet currently plays for Lyon. He is managing to earn game time despite his tender age. The 21-year-old can play all positions in the final third, but he has been mostly deployed on the left in recent weeks. The Ivorian has even managed to leave Memphis Depay watching on from the bench at times. It's quite an achievement. But despite Cornet's recent good form, his struggle to secure a regular role on the team means he may leave during the summer.
There are options available for Cornet. Recent reports suggest both Borussia Dortmund and Valencia are interested. Who can blame them? Even though the youngster has only made 12 starts this season, he has contributed two goals and six assists in 23 appearances. Once he matures as a player, his potential is endless. There remains plenty of time for him to improve.
Cornet possesses all the traits needed in a modern winger. His speed helps to take advantage of open space. He is not a one-trick pony without an end product, though. He can also cross, pass and shot accurately. His skill set allows him to move all over the attacking third. If that wasn't enough, the former France under-21 international has sufficient flair to create something out of nothing. Among his many attributes, he can flick and backheel the ball with absolute ease.
One key question remains: is Cornet ready for a bigger role away from Ligue 1? He is yet to show his true worth at Lyon after all. He is not a Depay or Fekir.
However, fans should not ignore Cornet's ability. His talent could see him flourish on the opposite flank to Goncalo Guedes at Valencia, giving the Spanish team a terrifying duo on the wings. At Dortmund, the Lyon ace may develop into the next Ousmane Dembele as their skill set is quite similar. Furthermore, an attacking line featuring both Cornet and Christian Pulisic would surely excite. Opposing defences would suffer a nightmare trying to stop the pair.
Although Cornet isn't a household name, he is certainly a player worth keeping close tabs. He is ready to take the next step. Judging by his potential alone, Maxwel Cornet could become one of the most dynamic wingers in Europe sooner than later.