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Scout Report: Emmanuel Riviere (AS Saint Etienne)

Last time out the focus was Iker Munian, ‘the Spanish Messi’. This week the focus turns to Emmanuel Riviere, who his club hope will quickly become ‘the new Bafitembi Gomis’…

Taking centre stage: Circumstances have thrust Riviere to the fore at Stade Geoffrey Guichard

Position: Striker

Age: 19

Clubs: AS Saint-Etienne

While AS Saint-Etienne were understandably reluctant to sell star striker Bafetimbi Gomis to arch-rivals Olympique Lyonnais during the summer, there were a number of reasons that persuaded the club to relinquish their star player.

The first was the money — €13 million was a not inconsiderable sum, especially considering the striker’s poor form in the previous campaign. That form also contributed to the second reason — St. Etienne had only narrowly avoided relegation in 2009, and French international Gomis had consequently become unsettled. Perhaps the chance to cash in and rebuild was one worth taking.

The third reason perhaps sealed the deal. In Emmanuel Riviere, St. Etienne’s management believed they already had a player capable of quickly inheriting Gomis’ throne.

After all, Riviere had long been touted as a great prospect throughout France. Having grown up on the colony of Martinique, the young striker initially turned heads while making an appearance for his youth team in a national U14 tournament hosted by the world-renowned Clairefontaine academy.

Approached by a number of clubs, Riviere was happy to opt for the most successful in French history.

“The ASSE is legendary in Martinique. They’re a very big club,” Riviere said of the club with ten Ligue 1 titles to its credit.

“My family was happy to see me sign here. My father, who follows a lot of football, has talked about them often.”

Having initially spent a number of seasons honing his skills in the youth and reserve teams, Riviere got his first taste of top-flight football serving as an understudy to the more established names in Les Vertes squad — Gomis, Kevin Mirallas, Ilan, David Gigliotti — during the 2008/09 season.

As results proved to be poor, the youngster found himself progressively given a number of chances to shine during the season. He made his club debut in the Coupe de France at the beginning of January, and made his bow in the league at the end of the same month.

Follow my lead: Gomis will prove difficult to replace

He went on to score his first goal for the club in May against Le Havre, proving a rare bright spot for fans as the club narrowly avoided relegation.

With injuries to Ilan and Mirallas blighting the start to the new season, Riviere found himself the club’s first choice forward. Unfazed by the responsibility, the No. 29 responded with a goal in just the club’s second league game, away to Toulouse.

Subsequently he has put in a number of solid performances, despite failing to add to his goal record. A swine flu outbreak has also hampered his recent progress.

Long-term, Riviere looks to have all the raw attributes required of a top player. The 19-year-old is a physical proposition in attack, and is blessed with both the pace and instinct to make the most of his 5’11” frame.

He is a threat on the deck and in the air, making him a highly desirable all-round package. With a big target man alongside him he could prosper, but equally he could fulfil a similar role running off the sort of ‘trequartista’ that flourish around Europe.

He has made a number of appearances for France’s well-resourced U17, U18 and U19 squad, and has scored a goal every other game at the highest age group.

With ASSE struggling once again in the league, and the club’s more established names coming back from injury, Riviere might find it difficult to shine as the season progresses.

But in the long-term, you can guarantee he is a player a number of clubs are monitoring with interest.

Watch Riviere in (extremely low resolution) action:

November 24, 2009 - Posted by | World Football | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I really love these, great feature.

    Comment by Kevin | November 25, 2009 | Reply

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