Before OM-MHSC, Elye Wahi: “Helping Montpellier is a source of pride”


Elye, you made a resounding return to competition. Have you found all your feelings?
I feel good, better and better. It’s true that I had this little injury which put me off a few games but I was able to come back well. With the whole team we had a big match against Angers (5-0 on March 5, 2023, editor’s note), and it’s rewarding because I scored two goals but the important thing is the collective. We took these three points and we are on a very good dynamic (Montpellier remains on 6 games without defeat in Ligue 1, editor’s note).

A few weeks ago, you became the second Ligue 1 player to reach the 20-goal mark before turning 20. The only player with this feat was a certain Kylian Mbappé. Can you feel the excitement around you?
Yes… It’s true that at the moment people talk a lot about me. I have rewarding stats, but I’m not focused on that. I continue to work.

We feel a lot of spontaneity in your approach to football. You even seem hermetic to pressure…
I play a position that requires a lot of concentration. So I try to ignore what’s around me, to stay focused as much as possible.

Since the start of your career, you have scored two sublime goals: an acrobatic return from a pure center-forward (against Lyon on October 22, 2022) and a long rush where you mystify an entire defense (against Angers on March 5, 2023) . Which one do you prefer?
I would say the one against Angers because it’s a goal I’ve never scored before. It is an instinctive goal. I start from midfield and I manage to finish with a superb strike from the left… The one against Angers is one of my ‘darlings’!

Is it the one that defines you the most?
Yes. It’s true that in the position where I play, it’s difficult to go on a ride like that but when I’m on one side, I try to hit as much as possible because that’s what I like to do. And it is indeed something that defines me.

Modern football calls for a certain versatility. Your speed and percussion qualities allow you to start your actions on the side, but you also have the sense of goal of a center forward. In which zone do you feel the best?
I would still say number 9. Afterwards, for a striker like me who manages to be hard-hitting on one side and who can score goals, it’s difficult to choose. If I can do both and I’m efficient… But here, today, it’s as number 9 that I’m most efficient.

Precisely, what is your strong point intrinsically? And conversely, the area you want to perfect?
My strong point, I would say, is the finish. I think it doesn’t take much for me to put it in the bottom. Afterwards, where I have to improve the most is with my back to the game. In my training, I was used to playing on the sides and less in the axis, so that’s where I have to improve. .

When you are a scorer like you, what is the part of instinct and the part of reflection ?
There are really both. Afterwards, I’m not someone who thinks a lot so as soon as the ball arrives, I think about carrying out my first idea.

“I loved the Drogba celebrations”

The passer-scorer relationship is a key element in the success of an attacker. AT Montpellier, you are lucky to be able to rely on a player who has an exceptional quality of foot: Téji Savanier. Is this a benchmark for a young player like you?
Yes it’s true that with Téji, we have a somewhat special relationship. He takes me a bit like his little brother. And now that we are together in Ligue 1, whether in training or in matches, we try to combine as much as possible. He has an extraordinary paw. We try to reproduce in matches what we do in training. And when you see what we do, whether it’s this year or last year, I think you can see that we get along really well. On one or two goals, we made superb actions.

You have already spoken of your admiration for Didier Drogba. What inspired you the most about him?
Already his haircut, which was not common (laughter). And then its celebrations! That’s what I liked about him.

And among the current players, is there a reference striker in your eyes?
I don’t really have a ‘preferred’ striker but what (Erling) Haaland is doing at the moment is quite impressive, both stat-wise and scoring. I think any striker can try to take inspiration from him.

“My goal this season? It is not fully achieved”

We are in an era of statistics. Do you pay particular attention to numbers or do you think, like Karim Benzema, that it can be dangerous to focus on them to the detriment of the game?
Karim Benzema is not wrong, we should not be focused on the stats. It’s important to feel good in the game too because if you don’t and you don’t score, you can get in trouble. Whereas if you try to combine the two, whether you score or make an assist, you will be happy. I would say try to alternate the two.

Montpellier is a very family club. You were thrown into the deep end at 17, at La Mosson. What relationship do you have with La Paillade?
It’s a club that trusted me from the moment I arrived. They managed to frame me. Today, I am very proud to make them happy, to score goals and to help the team as much as possible.

What are your personal and collective goals?
My goal this season? It has not been completely achieved… I would say that we have to maintain this good momentum. Hoping to win this weekend in Marseille.

“The France team is a dream, I have to keep doing what I’m doing”

The France team will open a new chapter. There is a great renewal in the offensive sector, we saw it with the emergence of a player like Randal Kolo Muani. You are an Espoir international, you shine with your club. Do you already have the Blues in the back of your mind?
Of course ! Being French, it would be a dream to be called up to the France team, but you shouldn’t see yourself too handsome. I have to keep doing what I do, and if I could one day be called up to the France A team, it would be a dream come true…

And in club, how do you see the rest of your story? Is there a team or a league that appeals to you?
Not necessarily. Today, we are 10 days from the end. We will try to take the points with Montpellier to try to finish as high as possible.

Interview by Jean-Charles Danrée

Before OM-MHSC, Elye Wahi: “Helping Montpellier is a source of pride” 24hfootnews.

Related Items



You must be logged in to post a comment Login