Bougherra’s trademark forays with the ball out of central defence have helped him stand out during his two seasons with Scottish champions Rangers, raising speculation that he will soon achieve his “prime objective” of a move to the Premier League.
He won the Scottish PFA’s Goal of the Season award for his solo effort in December’s 7-1 rout of Dundee United, and credits Rangers boss Walter Smith for his progress. Nonetheless, Bougherra started only 22 of Rangers’ 54 games in a season punctuated by injuries and delayed returns from international duty.
He was a day late in September, missed the 2-1 win at St Johnstone the following month after claiming his mobile phone and passport had been stolen en route, and he then failed to report back on time after Algeria’s World Cup play-off win against Egypt.
Bougherra was born in France and raised in what he describes as the “ghetto” of Dijon. He qualifies for Algeria through a grandparent, and made his international debut in 2004. The current Algerian Player of the Year, he kept Algeria in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations with a 90th-minute equaliser against the Ivory Coast in their quarter-final tie.
The central defender began his professional career at Gueugnon in the French Second Division. He first moved to England with Crewe in January 2006, joining Charlton for £2.5m a year later via a six-month stint at Sheffield Wednesday. Bougherra only made two Premier League starts for Charlton as they were relegated, but a further 33 appearances the following season earned him a £2.5m move to Rangers.
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