“A wanted man.” These were the words used by ESPN’s Christopher Atkins to describe 20-year-old midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia. These words could not be any more accurate.
The Sevilla star has quickly made a name for himself and attracted interest from some of the world’s top football clubs.
But just who is this rising French starlet?
Since his move from Lens in 2012, the defensive-minded midfielder has staked his claim as one of the best up-and-coming talents at his position. He has been very much a part of Sevilla’s season thus far and continues to impress every single week.
Despite his young age, Kondogbia deserves all of the praise that he is receiving, as well as the interest from the top clubs in the world.
Through and through, Geoffrey Kondogbia is a defensive midfielder. It is not merely the position he plays, but his very identity when on the pitch.
In just over eight months at the club, the French starlet has become the most pivotal player when defending the ball. His ability to play cover the defense has saved Sevilla countless times and his vision has showed maturity way beyond his years.
Kondogbia is averaging nearly three tackles per game and close to two interceptions as well according to Who Scored. Though he does not even average one clearance per game, it should be noted that it is because he simply does not have to
The 20-year-old possesses a special skill for his age. He can read the game at a level that reminds some of Sergio Busquets when he first broke out in Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side.
Kondogbia just appears to be in the right places at the right time, and that is something that just cannot be taught. His interceptions make up over 60 percent of his defensive actions showing just how well can read the game (via Squawka).
His understanding of the game makes him seem much older than he really is. But it is his fearlessness that makes him such a strong defensive-minded performer.
Sevilla’s star absolutely loves to challenge the ball.
He has no reservations when going in for a tackle and sacrifices his body with every stop he attempts. Winning 79 percent of challenges just shows his ability to use his body and tenacity in the correct way.
Kondogbia also wins more than half of his headers which makes him a force in the midfield and playing in front of the Sevilla defense. Kondogbia is a physical and strong player and knows exactly how to use that to his advantage.
Many comparisons have been made with Kondogbia and currently established stars. But none of the likenesses seem to line up.
Normally the French star is thought of as a replacement for Xabi Alonso, or someone in the same mold as Juventus star Pogba. But this simply is not the case due to one factor—offensive struggles.
Geoffrey Kondogbia is not a successful offensive performer.
Though he is strong when making short passes, his ability to play long balls and key passes is severely lacking. He only averages one long ball and 0.2 key passes per game. Definitely not the next Xabi Alonso no matter how badly Real Madrid wishes he was.
In fact, it is the Spanish club that seems to have the biggest interest in the French star.
With Xabi Alonso nowhere near extending his current contract, Florentino Perez will need to find a suitable replacement soon. Though Kondogbia would absolutely help Madrid defensively, his offensive weakness makes him a terrible candidate to replace the current Spanish star.
But no matter who decides to make a real bid for the player, they will not have to overpay by any means.
Kondogbia’s rights are partially owned by a third party.
Though Sevilla would like to think that his €20 million release clause will be what they receive for him, the Doyan group would receive at least half of any payment and anything more than €8 million would force the club to sell. (via ESPN).
In closing, the world is right to have an eye on Geoffrey Kondogbia. He is already a wall as a purely defensive midfielder and could quickly become one of the best in the world at the position.
With Sevilla almost forced to sell him this summer, one club will end up with a current and future star on their hands. Keep an eye out for Geoffrey Kondogbia, he is the real deal.
What do you make of Geoffrey Kondogbia? Can he become a world-class player? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Kondogbia, Sevilla and La Liga.