‘What the absolute, utter f**k are you on about, you stupid, nauseating, piece of faecal matter’, I hear you ask. ‘Who the f**k, exactly, is Stéphane M’bia?’ Well, if you just calm down a bit, I’ll tell you.
He’s the name that pops up almost every year regarding an imminent move to the Premier League. Last year he was linked with Everton, Stoke and Arsenal, but ended up moving to Marseille.
Born in Cameroon, after rising through the ranks at the famous Kadji Sports Academy, the combative midfielder moved to French club Rennes in 2004. Establishing himself in the side the following season, he enjoyed a successful spell at Rennes, ensuring he caught the eye of a number of clubs. Cue regular transfer speculation, seeing him eventually join Marseille for £10.5 million last summer. This year he played a central role in guiding Marseille to their first League title triumph since 1992.
Playing predominantly in defensive midfield, M’bia has, inevitably, been compared to Patrick Vieira; due to his position, strength on the ball, tackling, imposing stature and also given the fact that anyone of a similar ilk is usually reductively equated to the Vieira base-point, offering an easy and lazy depiction, even though it is never particularly helpful to have this excessive expectation thrust upon you… unfortunately, in repeating all this, I’ve just done the same thing.
Anyway, the absolute, definite ‘next Vieira’ is again being tipped for a Premier League move, again apparently to Arsenal. Indeed, Wenger is thought to be keeping tabs on the 24 year old, who could certainly be an asset; especially since he played much of last season in defence, providing valuable versatility. But, is he what Arsenal require and would he advance the Gunners?
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