Under the tactically sophisticated tutelage of Roberto De Zerbi, it’s been wonderful to see Jeremie Boga take his game to the next level at Sassuolo.
A highly rated prospect who rose through the ranks at Chelsea’s academy, Boga recognised his best chance of obtaining valuable first-team minutes was to leave his boyhood club. And after a series of loans that included stints at Rennes, Granada, Birmingham City and Sassuolo, he’s found a great home in Italy with the Neroverdi.
Having joined on a permanent deal back in 2018, he’s been vindicated for his decision to leave, for he’s thrived in Italy, with his form being especially impressive this term. The scorer of seven goals and supplier of four assists, the 23-year-old’s starred from his wing berth, as his unique, multifaceted skill set has been a huge weapon for De Zerbi’s men.
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“Coach De Zerbi is helping me a great deal, I have improved so much tactically, both defending and how to attack the space, scoring goals. I am very happy,” the content winger explained.
“I want to go as far as possible. I enjoy every game and will try to win all the time, scoring goals and providing assists.”
Finding the back of the net against some quality outfits like Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma, Fiorentina and Bologna, his goals have been crucial towards his team’s offensive threat. Hitting some sublime long range screamers, lovely placed finishes and clinical efforts, his ever improving finishing has been a real highlight.
Being an exceptional dribbler, who oozes imagination, ingenuity and unpredictability, this has helped put him in hugely promising positions to fire off shots, with his ability to beat his man or gain separation a massive danger for opponents.
Possessing scintillating pace and a blistering change of direction, which allies to see him breeze by opponents, both on the outside and inside, he’s so hard to track due to the sheer speed of his actions as trackers can’t react quickly enough to stop him.
Moreover, his vast repertoire of skills, including step overs, nutmegs, feints and shimmies, in combination with his slick touch and ball control, only compounds issues for his foes. Forever unbalancing and destabilising back lines with his ball carrying both in transition and in more methodical build up, it’s also notable how he frequently draws multiple markers due to his 1v1 quality, which vitally frees up teammates in advanced locations.
So strong on the ball and with a low centre of gravity, Boga’s extremely difficult to push off the ball, as he rides challenges nicely to skip by opponents and out muscle them.
Although his passing isn’t as influential as his wizardry with the ball at his feet, he still gives Sassuolo incision with his distribution. Keeping things ticking over nicely by recirculating the ball coherently, finding teammates between the lines, launching the odd through ball in behind or rolling the ball into the feet of his forwards, Boga’s passing has been solid.
Meanwhile, when it comes to his movement, there’s been plenty to like about his work here. Giving width and depth to the Neroverdi going forward, he’ll often position himself high and wide, where he can embark on dangerous runs into the box and in behind. In addition, by situating himself in these areas, it means he can receive switches of play and be isolated against his opponent, where he can use his wicked 1v1 prowess.
When embarking on runs in behind, the way he times, curls and bends his runs so he can exploit the blindside of markers to enjoy a dynamic advantage over them has duly aided his cause.
When not hugging the touchline, it’s been admirable how he’s smartly identified spaces between the lines, known when to drop deep with his back to goal and performed smooth rotations with his colleagues, as his variations have been key in placing doubt in opposition back lines.
Boasting some excellent statistics, which have seen him complete 0.33 goals per game, 1.96 shots pg, 25.92 passes pg at 85.5%, 5.40 successful dribbles pg, 3.59 touches inside the box pg, 5.31 progressive runs pg and be fouled 1.87 pg, these accentuate his menace.
Courtesy of his electric Serie A form, it’s interesting to hear rumours suggesting Chelsea are interested in buying him back, which would be quite remarkable. With interest also coming from the likes of Everton, Napoli, AS Monaco and Brighton and Hove Albion, it’ll be intriguing to see if Chelsea exercise the £12.7 million buyback clause they inserted when they sold him to Sassuolo for just £3.5 million.
All those distractions will have to wait, however, for Boga will want to remain solely focused on improving and further establishing himself as one of the young stars of Serie A this term.