Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Who is he? Where does he play?

He is Sevilla's versatile, physically-imposing central-midfielder who came from the same Lens youth academy that produced Noulan Roux, Mohamed Diame, Raphael Varane and Adel Taarabt to varying degrees of success. Like the rest, Kondogbia left northern France and tried another country, going to Spain for a small fee of 3.5 million euros.

How did they get him so cheap?

Juventus and Napoli were both rumoured to be interested in the Frenchman before he left for Sevilla with doubts circling around his attitude. A bizarre story in which he produced a dyslexic driving license when driving without a permit only served to compound complaints of egotism on the pitch and suddenly he was leaving for a new future in Seville at the age of 19.

Has he grown up?

You can argue he has. After making a pre-season debut at left-back, he has played mostly in defensive midfield, offering a tough-tackling influence at the heart of manager Michel's side. He has progressed into the long-term replacement for Seydou Keita whom Sevilla have searched the past couple of years for. He has made a total of 17 appearances so far, impressive for a debut season in a new country, picking up just two yellow cards, suggesting his lack of discipline has died out.

So he's impressing then?

He is, strong at winning the ball back, releasing it quickly with sharp passing, he is the steel alongside the passing influence of Gary Medel alongside him. His reading of the game is very impressive, leading to effective positioning when protecting the back four with an athleticism that allows him to patrol the deeper positions. One weakness is that sometimes he can be over-committed in the tackle, leading to persistent fouls and cheap free-kicks. That will surely improve as he matures further.

I take it his frame helps?

As with all solid defensive midfielders, his strong physique of 75kg to compliment his rangy 6ft 2 inch frame means he can compete with drive and energy in the "engine-room" of midfield against the smaller, nimble technicians that litter La Liga. With his height, he can also be a threat at set-pieces with 9 goals in his short career so far. Most of them have been in youth levels for France however, where he has represented his country right through to under-20 level. Surely a cap in the full-senior squad won't be too far away if he keeps impressing in the Spanish Primera.

I would mention how Kondogbia is an African-born French product, coincidentally fitting in with the strong, athletic and robust characteristics that have been a staple of French football in recent years, Laurent Blanc got into trouble for that y'aknow.......

But I will show his man of the match performance vs Grenada

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