Joris Gnagnon is a 20-year-old promising centre back currently playing for Ligue 1 talent-incubator Stade Rennais, but with dreams of bigger and better things in his future.
Gnagnon impressed in his first full season as a professional last year, and has continued that form into the current season as well. Over the summer, he was already linked with some of the usual suspects for a big money transfer — including Chelsea! — but he (wisely) decided that the time is not yet right for such a move.
“It was not easy, to be honest. After that, you need to face the truth, that if I went to Chelsea, I was not guaranteed to play. You go to Dortmund, you are not guaranteed to play either. Whether I went left or right, I was not guaranteed to play [in those top teams]."
“I weighed the positives and the negatives with my entourage and my agent, and we told ourselves that spending an extra season at Rennes was for the best. It was not easy, but a choice needed to be made."
While apparently at least one solid bid arrived for his services, it was from another Ligue 1 side, Lyon, rather than from the Premier League, which is what the youngster is truly aiming for.
“I really want to play [in England]. I would really want to live that with the fans, the game. It is magnificent to see. It must be quite something."
Gnagnon was born in France but is of Ivorian descent, which immediately puts Chelsea at or near the top of his wishlist. (Thanks Didier!) Gnagnon had represented France at youth levels, but recently declared his allegiance for Cote d’Ivoire and received his maiden call (albeit without making an appearance) back in May.
“I really like Chelsea as they had a really famous Ivorian player who played there in Didier Drogba. They are a prestigious club. I really like Chelsea and also Manchester United. They are the two clubs that I like the most [in England]."
-Joris Gnagnon; source: Foot Mercato
With Chelsea always on the lookout for good young talent, Gnagnon is a name to remember for future transfer windows.