Scouting Rumored Chelsea Target Geoffrey Kondogbia
Jose Mourinho has been back at Stamford for less than a month, but already the changes are being implemented to make the Blues title winners once more.
Andre Schurrle was brought in this week for £18 million from Bayer Leverkusen, but the Blues are not done there in terms of transfers, with strikers such as Edinson Cavani (via The Independent) and Robert Lewandowski (via The Mirror) being linked with moves.
With Chelsea hot on his tail, Bleacher Report tells you all you need to know about the French youngster.
Who Is Geoffrey Kondogbia?
Geoffrey Kondogbia is a product of the Lens youth system, coming through in the same team as Real Madrid starlet Raphael Varane.
But while Varane would go on to be snapped up by the nine-time European champions, Kondogbia has been forced to wait patiently for his opportunity with one of Europe’s elite clubs.
Following Lens’ relegation from Ligue 1 in 2011, he spent a year playing regularly outside the top flight before Sevilla snapped him up for a reported £2.5 million in 2012.
He played 31 games for the La Liga outfit last term, scoring just once.
Kondogbia’s older brother, Evans, also a professional footballer, is currently plying his trade for RFC Liege in Belgium. He also plays internationally for the Central African Republic.
Kondogbia Jr. qualifies for the country himself, but can currently be seen in action for France at the U20s World Cup.
As his goals return demonstrates from last season with Sevilla (one in 31 games), Kondogbia is more productive shielding the back four than he is in attack.
He is an effective tackler, though, committing just 50 fouls all season—an average of just 1.6 all season in a league known for a culture of referees quick to blow the whistle.
At 6' 3", images of the 20-year-old imposing himself physically throw up comparisons with other midfielders of African descent, such as Manchester City’s Yaya Toure or Chelsea’s Michael Essien.
It seems he has a little more in common with them, too, demonstrating a passing accuracy of 86.9 percent last term. Toure himself boasted 88.9 percent and Essien, on loan at Real Madrid, 88.5 percent.
He needs to improve what he offers offensively, however, with just 0.3 key passes last term and one assist in 31 outings along with less than one turnover.
In the modern era, the benchmark for any defensive midfielder is that of Claude Makelele—being adept at breaking up play, but also getting your team moving forward—and the stats suggest Kondogbia has much to work on in that area.
*Stats from WhoScored.com
Cause for Concern
The biggest concern for Chelsea is where Kondogbia would fit in. They already have the likes of Oriol Romeu and Nathan Ake on the bench ready to cover John Mikel Obi.
Given his experience, it’s difficult to see the Frenchman coming in and taking a first-team spot immediately. What Chelsea need is a player with more know-how—a Daniel De Rossi-type who can marshal the midfield with authority.
Given his age, a move for someone such as De Rossi may go against the club’s existing recruitment policy, but he would plug a hole the Blues are in desperate need of addressing, whereas Kondogbia’s inexperience means he is a considerable risk and doesn’t add anything new to the squad, despite his potential.
Watch some of Geoffrey Kondogbia’s highlights for Sevilla in this YouTube showreel and make your mind up on whether Chelsea should sign him or not.
Are there better defensive midfielders out there? Should Chelsea promote an academy player before looking to recruit?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or via Twitter @garryhayes