With the need for a striker becoming more obvious with each passing game, the Pars have taken former Hibs and Falkirk forward Farid El Alagui on trial. The player scored in the Under 20s 2-1 win over St Johnstone on Tuesday this week. Undoubtedly a talented player, the past 2 years have not been kind to him, after suffering an injury early in his Hibs career in 2014.
Farid El Alagui is 30 years old (31 on Sunday 28 August) and began his career in lower league French football, scoring for 47 goals in 76 games before moving to Moroccan side Wydad. He then returned to France to sign for amateur side Romorantin, and scored 14 goals in 27 games in season 2010/11. His goalscoring form alerted clubs from the UK, and he moved to Falkirk in 2011 and enjoyed the most successful season of his career, with 27 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions. Brentford was his next destination and after a promising start to his time at Griffin Park, he suffered a knee injury that saw him miss several months of the season. The following season, after regaining full fitness, he was unable to win back a regular place in the team, and after a loan spell at Dundee United, was released at the end of his 2 year contract in 2014.
The injury at Hibs mirrored his experience at Brentford, happening so soon in his debut season at the club, after he had scored 4 goals in his first 6 games. The ruptured Achilles tendon was to keep him out of first team action for 7 months, until he made 6 further appearances before the end of season 2014/15. Last season, he made only 8 appearances for Hibs, scoring twice, as his earlier injury continued to impact on his fitness.
Interviewed in June this year, El Alagui said that his time at Hibs had been frustrating, but said that he is now fully fit and injury-free. His full interview with the Edinburgh Evening News can be read here:
El Alagui scored a hat trick in a trial game for Inverness earlier this month. It seemed a deal was likely until Inverness defender Kevin McNaughton suffered a long-term injury. With the Highland club's restricted budget, a new defender is now their priority, as reported in the Inverness Courier: "With Kevin McNaughton set to miss the majority of the season with a ruptured. That means any deal for former Hibernian and Falkirk striker Farid El Alagui, who has been on trial over the last week, is on hold."
If the player can stay clear of further injuries, he would be a great addition to the current Dunfermline team, which is full of creativity but lacking in firepower and also in need of a stronger physical presence up front. Replacing one French-Moroccan with another could prove to be a good move for our club, and although El Alagui is a different type of player to the departed Faissal El Bakhtaoui, he could prove to be as successful in terms of his contribution to the team in different ways.