17 June 2015

£22m for Kondogbia, Vieira's heir-apparent? Bring it on!

Reports have Arsène meeting with officials from AS Monaco as an attempt at signing Geoffrey Kondogbia for £22m with plenty of circumstantial connections lending the rumour legitimacy. Arsène's own time at the club (1987-1994), our Champions League defeat at their hands, even the player's ostensible similarities to a certain Senegalese defender whose heir we've pined for lo these many years. French. Burly. Athletic. Shields the defense. Combative. More important than that, though, if it's true that he could be had for £22m, we should go for him.

so he already has an Arsenal shirt? Thanks, Mesut...
Morgan Schneiderlin might be the sexier option, but a league rival like Southampton would want to extract an exorbitant fee, especially from us after seeing us snatch Theo, Ox, and Chambers from them in recent years. While he's obviously familiar with the Prem, he's also 25. Hardly over the hill, of course, but the gap between his performance and potential is likely much narrower than for Kondogbia who, at 22, would bring a larger reservoir of untapped potential to explore.

Setting aside the superficial similarities to Vieira, let's admit that he does possess some impressive physical stature of the kind we've been lacking in the midfield. Coquelin, for all of his tenacity, doesn't cut much of an imposing figure. Kondogbia stands 188m (6'2") and weighs 76 kg (168 lbs). He's not getting much taller but could very easily find time to pack a few more muscles onto an already chiseled frame.  He's an athletic, aggressive defender who's been asked to anchor Monaco's defense. As such, he rarely ventured upfield very often (although he did it often enough to score against us...). For those who like apples-to-oranges comparisons, his tackles and interceptions in Ligue 1 compare favorably to those of Schneiderlin and Coquelin in the Prem.

For those concerned about his bedding-in process, making a switch from Ligue 1 to the Prem, consider how well Francis Coquelin did after his loans to Freiburg and Charlton Athletic. Coming back to an Arsenal that was quite a bit different from the one he last played for in 2012-13. He did pretty well for himself, suggesting if not proving that a player can slot in and impress us if he's got the grit to do so. If there's a downside to consider, then, it comes down to how similarly Coquelin and Kondogbia play. Both are rugged, tenacious players who are reluctant, perhaps even allergic, to getting forward. In Coquelin's case, that might be his mindset. In Kondogbia's, though, it might be more a result of Monaco's set-up, alternately dubbed bus-parking by critics and catenaccio by fans. However, the underlying question persists: would Kondogbia present a significant upgrade on Coquelin, who just turned in a five-month run of form that was a revelation, enough to inspire Arsène to suggest that he could be a long-term solution.

Even if Coquelin can prove that his performance is more than a purple-patch, we need depth and upgrades. Does Kondogbia offer one, or the other? Depth, or upgrade?


  1. I'd love this move because it would give us a lot more tactical flexibility. against high-octane offenses we could play Coq and Kondogbia to give us stronger defense but against sides with less attacking threat, we could put Cazorla alongside one of them for more versatility. 22m is not a huge fee, it would leave us with enough in the bank to add another high value target.

  2. hands off. can't have him. we're in UCL again, so we're not selling.If you're serious about it, offer us 40m then we'll talk.

  3. FFP!!

    Ok. I'll admit I know nothing about Monaco's finances. Maybe they're fine. Maybe the player is happy to stay there, and maybe Arsenal have no chance.

    Equally, I don't think it's entirely reasonable to suggest 22m would be nowhere near enough. Transfer fees are decided by a lot of factors. Not all of them apparent.

    Anyway, that's presuming Arsenal really are going for him. The way I see it there are a good few midfield options seemingly available (Schneiderlin, Vidal, Bender(s), Gundogan, Kondogbia, Wanyama, Cabaye etc), and Arsenal aren't desperate for one anyway (it would be more in the category of nice and bringing depth than NEED). So I doubt we'll see big big money spent there.


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