Wahbi Khazri played his third game for Stade Rennais on Saturday on loan from Sunderland. The Tunisian has already hit two goals - scoring that audacious flick in his first game before following it up with a successful penalty in his second.
And he was firmly in the midst of the action again at the weekend as his new side were beaten 1-0 by Caen at Roazhon Park. The victors moved up to fourth place in Ligue 1 as Rennes slumped into the bottom six.
But this incident is ‘classic Khazri’ as the 27-year-old caused some drama with a corner called in by the video ref in Saturday’s game to see if it had crossed the line.
The French Football Federation is trialing video-assistants in the domestic top flight this season. The referee can ask for more details of incidents from the extra official with access to replays. Quite why the man with the whistle opted to call that one into question a few minutes after the obvious non-goal hasn’t yet been fully explained.
Sunderland supporters can be forgiven for a sense of deja-vu after watching Khazri score direct from a corner in a rare highlight last season. Restored to the starting eleven after months of bit-part introductions under David Moyes, the winger hit the back of the net from a set piece against West Ham in April.
Wahbi Khazri goal from a Corner vs West Ham https://t.co/x84TrirHQt— Macca (@sunderlandafc11) April 19, 2017
Fast forward to the new season, and a new club, and all is not well in camp Rennes as Khazri’s new side have endured a poor start to the season. With no win since the Sunderland man’s debut, Saturday’s defeat was greeted by angry scenes after the final whistle with the players barracked by a group of supporters as they left the stadium. Stade Rennais have won one in eight.
Rennes spent big in the summer - over €35m - and had been expected to do much better and for his part, Wahbi Khazri never seems to be far from the epicentre of crisis after swapping the drama at the Stadium of Light for a new calamity in France.
In an episode oddly reminiscent of Simon Grayson’s claim last week that unidentified forces were “coming out of the woodwork” to attack him at Sunderland, Stade Rennais coach Christian Gourcuff last week blamed the increasing agitation to have him sacked on “people who do not work, and spend their time on [social] networks”.
It may be too early in the season to suggest another relegation may be on the cards for the Sunderland-owned playmaker, but it does appear that Rennes fans have already sussed Khazri’s notable weakness - or lack of interest at least - in tracking back defensively. This supporter perfectly made his point on social media over the weekend with a clip demonstrating ‘our’ Wahbi’s half-hearted attention to opposition goal prevention.
Wahbi Khazri, quelle insulte au respect. Fais son petit bordel la sem. dernière à Sainté, commet les mêmes fautes grossières aujourd'hui. pic.twitter.com/mUu3lOBeF2— Charles (@CharlesPerrier) September 30, 2017
That comment contains the French words for ‘insult’, ‘faults’ and ‘respect’ [lack of]. Classic Khazri indeed.