Date of Birth: May 27th 1990
Place of Birth: Nijmegen, Netherlands
Previous Club(s): NEC Nijmegen
Arsenal’s signing of a then 15 year-old Nacer Barazite was controversial and included some alleged underhand tactics. NEC Nijmegen, who had developed the local youngster, flat out refused the Gunners’ approaches, but Arsenal were able to convince the family Barazite to relocate to England, where they were able to then sign their target with greater ease. It’s clear to see why they wanted him, because he presents a rare talent of pace, skill, and physical brawn, which when combined make him a nightmare to defend.
Not only is his game versatile, it translates across multiple positions. He can play across the midfield or in attack, but is probably at his best somewhere in between, in a wide attacking role. It means he can use his full arsenal (!) of tricks and drive at players with his pace, and regularly affect the scoresheet. In his first season in England he reached double figures as a support striker, and followed it up with 18 goals in his second year as the lead man for the Under-18s, a level at which he was unfairly dominating, not least due to his size.
With Arsene Wenger’s preference for blooding youngsters in the Carling Cup, Nacer has made a first team debut, but they were brief and the latter-most appearance was cut short by a dislocated shoulder. In gaining greater professional experience at Derby (see below), he’s receiving the opportunity to really crack on and show that he is worthy of a place in the full Arsenal team.
After a pre-season spent with the first team, Barazite was loaned to Championship outfit Derby County, recently relegated from the Premier League. The deal, initially until the end of 2008, was extended to cover the full season due to his considerable impressive performances, even if his formerly prolific nature was left behind, with just one goal in some 30 appearances. Nonetheless, he’s rounding out his game, and looking the part for his current level.