This is taken from the GFFN 100, our leading 150-page FREE publication ranking the best 100 players in France, see the full list and read every profile right here.
It would not have taken Nostradamus to see a bright future for France’s 2016 under-19 European Championship team, but few would have predicted their level of success thus far. With the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Lucas Tousart, Marcus Thurman, Issa Diop and Amine Harit in that side, it was easy to forget Nantes attacking midfielder, Ludovic Blas. However, Blas has proven he should be overlooked no more.
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Now 24, Blas has blossomed over the last two seasons, scoring 20 goals and adding 10 assists in league play, plus the winner in last season’s Coupe de France final triumph over OGC Nice. To put those numbers in perspective, Lyon’s Lucas Paquetá, now of West Ham, had 18 goals and 11 assists in that same period, while Blas’ numbers also outperformed those of Dimitri Payet and Séko Fofana.
This season, however, Blas is off to a slower start, managing only two goals and one assist in 15 league games, but that does not paint the full picture. Domestically, outside of a win at Brest, Nantes have not won in Ligue 1 since August 28th but still managed to finish second in their group to make the play-off round in the Europa League, where a prestige tie with Juventus awaits.
This was largely due to Blas’ brilliant goal and assist performance in the final match of the group stage against Olympiacos. Blas has been excellent in the Europa League with two goals and three assists in six games. An exceptional left-footed finish from outside the box to open the scoring against Qarabag was a highlight for himself and his team in a mixed season so far.
Blas has been deployed as a 10 and on the right wing this season, but there simply has not been enough cohesion between himself and the rest of the Nantes attack. On the right, Blas can cut in on his left foot, one of the best in Ligue 1, but he’s better utilised as a true number 10 within this current Nantes group. However, regardless of that slow start and whether or not Nantes stay in the top flight, Blas has finally proved himself and will be in high demand across Europe next summer.
Tony DesRois | GFFN