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Ligue 1

Bundesliga and Premier League target Malcom showing the X factor

7:00 AM EDT 8/16/17
Malcom Bordeaux Ligue 1 31 03 2017
The teenage Brazilian, named after Malcolm X, once again this past weekend showed why he is attracting interest from some of Europe's best

Saturday was the best day of the season yet for Bordeaux fans. Not only did they witness their side beat Metz 2-0 at home, star winger Malcom indicated his willingness to remain at the club for the remainder of the season.

Speculation had mounted over his future in the week leading up to the match, with his agents having reportedly arrived in France for crisis talks as a potential move to Wolfsburg brewed.

The 20-year-old winger, however, allowed his feet to send the message.

With Bordeaux 1-0 up shortly after the hour mark, he showed an incredible turn of speed to leave experienced Metz full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto appearing as though he was running with concrete boots.

Having fashioned time and space for himself in the box, Malcom picked out Younousse Sankhare to leave the midfielder with a simple tap in. Victory was sealed.

It is that kind of moment that has attracted the Bundesliga side and others to consider a €15 million bid, but for now there is little prospect of success.

“I’m going to stay at Bordeaux,” said the youngster, who was named after Malolm X.

It is a decision that will be celebrated on the banks of the Gironde, where the winger has spent the last year establishing himself as one of his side’s key players. Given that he only arrived in Europe from Corinthians 18 months ago, it is quite the rise.

Head coach Jocelyn Gourvennec has spoken of him in the highest terms, highlighting, in particular, the maturity of the youngster and the role he will have in allowing countrymen Jonathan Cafu and Otavio to settle into their new surroundings after both were signed last week.

“He’s always joyful, vibrant and full of energy, you can see it on a daily basis,” the former Guingamp coach explained. “He’s the translator for his new Brazilian team-mates!

“The rumours around him have not affected him at all because, although he’s a young boy, he’s very mature and knows how to be decisive, when you can laugh and when you have to work. He’s always had that in him and he will always have it.”

The ethic for industry was apparent at the weekend as he impressed as much with his willingness to defend as his enthusiasm for getting forward.

He is also a young man prepared to make brave decisions, such as the one that brought him to France from his homeland aged just 18 for a fee of just €5m.

Though he joined with a significant reputation, having already scored seven top-flight goals in Brazil, he was allowed six months on the periphery of the squad to adapt to life in a new country.

Over the year that has followed, he has flourished, performing to such a standard that the likes of Liverpool can be counted among his admirers. Unsurprisingly, though, Gourvennec wants the youngster, who is under contract at Stade Matmut-Atlantique to hold out for a little longer.

“I think leaving would be premature for him,” he said. “He needs to grow to become even stronger. He has immense potential and we think that in the next couple of years he can join a very big club.”

Certainly, the signs are positive. Last season he produced seven goals and five further assists in Ligue 1, featuring in all but one of Bordeaux’s games, while this term he has already accrued three decisive passes in four matches in all competitions.

At just 20, he has displayed all the attributes to make it to the top. Few players at his age can match his cool head in the box, which allied with his blistering pace already makes him a force to be reckoned with. 

If he can continue at his current rate of development, Gourvennec is right: he will be at the very top very soon.