Chelsea have been sniffing around for midfield depth all summer, and that seems to have intensified after the injury to Michael Essien. While we're apparently on the verge of signing Barca youngster Oriol Romeu and believed to be close on Javier Pastore, yet there may still be some questions about our depth going forward (especially if the Romeu deal includes a buyback). One player whom I'm starting to hear rumblings about is Rennes midfielder Yann M’vila.
M'vila is certainly an interesting player, and I'm surprised we haven't heard more noise about him in general this summer. He has had a few links to Arsenal and Liverpool, but nothing that has seemed legitimate. For those of you who haven't heard of him, he's a 21 year old holding midfielder who stands 6' tall and weighs roughly 185 pounds. He's been a regular on the French national team since the World Cup ended last summer, racking up 10 appearances. He was also born in June of 1990, meaning he'd qualify as a U21 player this season (and thus not take up a 25 man roster space). After the jump we'll take a deeper look at him and have a few videos as well.As mentioned previously, M'vila plays primarily in the holding role. He's noted for being very strong, both in his tackling and in the air. He's also generally very well positioned in defense, and rarely makes a mental lapse. He's good with the ball at his feet, and rarely picks out a poor pass. It may simply be the French background and position, but the player who I most often hear M'vila compared to is Claude Makelele. His blend of physical strength and his defensive skillset certainly do make it seem plausible however. Here's a little highlight video of M'vila against England:
As you can see, M'vila plays very much in the same role as our own John Obi Mikel. He also appears to be pretty good on the ball, so it's quite possible he could play in a more box to box role or as part of a two man holding tandem. The rumored price on M'vila is only 15 million pounds, and while I'm somewhat skeptical he'd come that cheap, he'd certainly not be too much more than that. Depending on your view of Mikel, M'vila might also fill a very pressing need. For those convinced Mikel is of the class required at Chelsea, M'vila would likely be somewhat of a luxury purchase
I haven't heard anything yet to convince me that this rumor has any sort of real legs, but fit wise it makes very good sense. He's young depth for the midfield, and depending on what's happening with Romeu could still fill an area of real need. I'd be very happy if he were an addition to the squad, as quality young players are something you can never have enough of. He'd certainly be a stockpiling sort of purchase however, and would likely mean that some sales would also be coming. What are your thoughts on M'vila? Please feel free to leave your opinions in the comments section below.
As an interesting but meaningless side note, M'vila's older brother plays for newly promoted Dijon, the same club as the brothers of Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda