Normally when a player is described as the ‘new ….whoever….’ they massively flatter to deceive. Here at the Tavern, we love these comparisons almost as much as we love a new delivery of pork scratchings or urinal cakes.
Well, according to press reports the ‘New Patrick Vieira’ is 19 year old defensive midfielder Gueida Fofana. The Midlands club tried to sign the Frenchman during the January transfer window, but terms could not be agreed with the player. It now appears that they are going to make a second attempt to land the imposing player over the Summer.
Fofana joined Le Havre at 12 years old, and was quickly thought to be one of the most exciting players in the sides youth academy. At 17, Fofana appeared on the substitutes bench for the first team although he didn’t appear due to a niggling injury.
That season Le Havre were relegated from Ligue 1, and the following season 2009-2010 Fofana trained with the first team full time, he went on to play 31 times for the club that season. His tenure in the first team continued into the current season where he has become the fulcrum of their midfield, the combative midfielder is also captain of the French Under 19 side and recently lead them to the Under 19 European Championship crown.
Fofana is noted for his immense strength and power, and is renowned for being a very physical style of player. He normally plays as the anchor in midfield but when required he can also play at the heart of the defence because he is so defensively minded.
Gerard Houllier who was aware of the teenager because of his work with the French FA thought that he had wrapped up a deal for the player in January for £1million, a price low because of the players contract being due to expire this Summer. The deal however collapsed due to the player wage demands, and he went on to sign a new deal with Le Havre so should he move this Summer the money involved would probably be higher. Upon the deal collapsing, Houllier frustratingly said:
“The Fofana deal is not done and I doubt it will be done….For the moment, an agreement has not been reached. He’s got potential. He’s a 19-year-old player, very mature, with a strong personality”.
Villa are competing with French side Bordeaux for the signing of the player who in the past has been linked too Liverpool and Chelsea. It is thought that for the player it is a choice between Villa because of the links with their manager and Bordeaux should he chose to stay in France.
I think the player has potential, but should he sign for Villa it should be considered one for the future as opposed to someone who can go straight into the first team squad. Most of his career so far has been played in the 2nd tier of French football so a move to the Premier League would be a big step up, but with time on the training field and a slow move into the first team picture I believe Fofana could go on to be a good player. Who knows whether he will be the next Patrick Vieira, but either way, its another comparison that we look forward to monitoring.
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