The mass exodus of Ewood Park that was anticipated after last terms troublesome season hasn’t really gotten going yet.
Of the big names only Yakubu has flown the nest to China to get a bumper pay day before living the life of leisure. So of the names still around it is 6ft 4in powerhouse Steve Nzonzi that is causing the birds to chatter the most amongst rumour mills across the land.
According to The Sun Nzonzi hasn’t reported for pre-season training with the rest of the team in Austria which has apparently sparked a number of clubs including Arsenal and Chelsea into negotiating with the young Frenchmen.
At 23 Nzonzi certainly has time to mould into an excellent holding midfielder and showed the Premier League he has the capability with flashes of brilliance including a goal and an assist in a big game against QPR last February.
These moments of brilliance are also counter weighted by some very stupid two footed tackles and also an elbow to the head of Ryan Shawcross late last year which earned him a 3 game ban for violent conduct. So should Chelsea or Arsenal make a swoop for a man whose frame is reminiscent of a fridge?
For a fee of £5 million I think both team would happily take a risk on the volatile young man. Chelsea would see the amount as small change and with all there spending on attacking midfielders they have forgotten that you need someone to say back and protect your defence, especially considering how shaky Chelsea’s was at times last year.
The Champions League showcased there wonderful defensive displays but with Terry and Cole not getting any younger and the right back position still proving to be an unsolved problem, they need someone with a lot of running in them to make sure they aren’t hit on the counter too easily. Frank Lampard could also pass on some wise words to Nzonzi.
Whether or not he would get the playing time is up to Di Matteo, as Nzonzi showed at Blackburn that he can get a little upset when knocked down the pecking order. I doubt after his recent comments about Torres whether he would be willing to promise anything of the sort to a relatively unproven young midfielder.
Arsenal on the other hand could also do with having someone with Nzonzi’s work rate and bullish defensive characteristics. With the system at the Emirates being that of two holding midfielders, with one making the interceptions and one making the passes, Nzonzi could work very well retrieving the ball for either Arteta or Song, who both showed how valuable they are to Arsenal last season even though it appears Robin Van Persie will no longer be able to volley a goal from nothing any more. Both can be freed by Nzonzi’s tireless running and play the right passes into the attack.
The likeliness of Nzonzi leaving is about as concrete as a politician going back on a promise made on election day but his whereabouts could honestly be anywhere. Chelsea have the money and the ambition to take pole position but Arsene Wenger has experience in moulding firey young Frenchmen into world beaters and Nzonzi has some similarites to the ex-Arsenal captain Patrick Viera.
Either way at £5million Nzonzi is cheap and could prove to be an excellent long term project.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!