Florian Lejeune has been receiving some rave reviews from Spanish press since making a loan move to Alaves back in September – and he’s put in his best display yet form them over the weekend.
The Frenchman came up against Barcelona on Saturday night and was their Man of the Match in Alaves’ heroic 1-1 draw with the La Liga giants, earning a 7.2 rating (WhoScored) as he kept the likes of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele at bay.
Here’s one brilliant piece of defending from the NUFC loanee, seeing him drop back on the line to block a goal-bound free-kick by Messi:
This comes just a week after the centre-back helped the La Liga side to their third clean sheet in their opening five games last Sunday, with their point against Barcelona keeping them level on points with the Euro giants in 14th.
Amusingly, ex-Mag Joselu is the only Alaves player to have a higher average rating than Lejeune so far this season – according to leading stat site WhoScored.com.
Great to see the big man is impressing out in Spain and gaining some much needed game time after two devastating ACL injuries in as many years.
That said, his form raises the question – Did Steve Bruce make a big mistake allowing him to leave on loan?
Considering we’re back playing a five-man defence again and failed to sign a replacement over the summer, I can’t help but wish he was still on Tyneside!
Nevertheless, this will be doing him the world of good, giving Bruce food for thought ahead of his return next summer.