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Who is Chelsea trialist and YouTube sensation Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, the non-league Riyad Mahrez?


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The amazingly named The Dripping Pan is the name of the stadium where Lewes FC ply their trade, in the Isthmian League's Premier Division.  That's the 7th tier of the English football pyramid, three levels below what's considered "league", i.e. professional football.  They were the team to pick on Football Manager 2007 if you were looking for an actual challenge.

The scenic Sussex town and their historic football team is also home (or was home), on a non-contract basis, to YouTube "sensation" Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, the "non-league Riyad Mahrez".  The 20-year-old left winger joined Lewes in October after spending time at Farnborough and in the youth teams of Barnet and Aldershot Town.  Thanks to Jamie Vardy and Leicester, we cannot immediately end the post here and just laugh at the absurdity of this all.

Born in London to Moroccan parents, El-Mhanni has had a series of trials recently at Premier League teams, including West Brom, Crystal Palace, and possibly even Liverpool.  Spurs were apparently "monitoring" the situation, too.  But he's mostly known for his skills, proudly displayed on YouTube.  FFD TV, who have worked with him on several occasions highlight his "quick feet, awareness, and shooting ability".  In addition to his showboating and bags of tricks of course.

And apparently on Thursday, he popped up at Chelsea training, presumably for us to see if the old adage that everybody looks good in their YouTube highlight videos applies to someone who only has YouTube highlight videos, or just to make sure he's not just some modern day Ali Dia.

I highly doubt this is anything but a publicity stunt or just a bit of fun for this guy or something for the newspapers and tabloids (and us) to talk about with a smirk.  (Or an elaborate April Fools joke.)  On the other hand, there's nothing to lose by checking him out.  You know, just in case.

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