Scouting Report: Should Arsenal Target Troubled Defender Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJune 1, 2014

Associated Press

Should Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger attempt to steer Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik's career back on track by signing the talented but troubled centre-back from Rennes? 

To cover that hypothetical, here is a scouting report on Kana-Biyik, a 24-year-old French-born Cameroonian international. 



Kana-Biyik is a 6'0", 198-pound centre-back.

He mainly started alongside Sylvain Armand, the former Paris Saint-Germain stalwart.


Per Mertesacker is six inches taller than Kana-Biyik, yet they are both 198 pounds. 

Kana-Biyik is a burly, powerful and tenacious defender, as is evident when he forcefully beat Bordeaux's 6'4" centre-back Lamine Sane to a header.


While Kana-Biyik is substantially heavier, he is still more efficient at winning headers than Koscielny.

League OnlyJean-Armel Kana-BiyikLaurent Koscielny
Tackles Per Game1.61.7
Fouls Per Game0.80.9
Tackles Per Foul21.8
Interceptions Per Game1.22.8

David Vincent/Associated Press

"We identified him [Koscielny] as a very strong centre-half," Wenger said in 2010, per BBC Sport. "He has shown he is mentally strong, he's a fighter and a very strong competitor."

Wenger could describe Kana-Biyik in the same manner. 

Technically, Kana-Biyik is comfortable in possession. 

He completed 85.4 percent of his passes, which was 10.5 percent higher than Koscielny's output during his last season at Lorient. 

Koscielny has since upped his pass-completion percentage to 93.5, so you would project Kana-Biyik to complete 90-95 percent of his passes if he was inserted into Arsenal's set-up. 

On the ball, Kana-Biyik can play out of defence, like when he galloped deep into Lille's defensive half, dragged three players toward him and then played in Rennes left-forward Wesley Said.




League OnlyJean-Armel Kana-BiyikLaurent Koscielny (Lorient; 2009-10) 
Tackles Per Game1.62.3
Fouls Per Game0.81.0
Tackles Per Foul22.3
Interceptions Per Game1.24.5

Koscielny was bossing from the back at Lorient, whereas Kana-Biyik has been steadily declining in defensive productivity, having once averaged 2.5 tackles and 2.6 interceptions per game during the 2010-11 season.

Has Kana-Biyik compensated by being more secure at the back? No.

Kana-Biyik commits farcical errors, which raises a red flag. 

He hacked down Sochaux left winger Roy Contout, who was covered by Rennes right-back Romain Danze, to concede a cheap penalty. 


Kana-Biyik imprudently followed through on Nice central attacking midfielder Valentin Eysseric to give away a pointless penalty. 


Valenciennes central midfielder Tongo Hamed Doumbia did not complete his shooting motion after being clipped by Kana-Biyik, who gambled thinking he would get away with an unscrupulous nudge from behind. 


It was a foolhardy choice, because Kana-Biyik knew any contact as the last man would result in a red card and a penalty awarded to Valenciennes.

This was not the first time Kana-Biyik was caught attempting an underhanded tactic. 

He could not believe an innocuous trip on Nice centre-forward Dario Cvitanich would yield a second yellow card, leading to another sending off. 



Bottom Line

Kana-Biyik's regression in form and lack of discipline mean Rennes could offload him in the summer transfer window. 

Kana-Biyik could be permanently replaced by promising 20-year-old 6'5" centre-back Cedric Hountondji.

Kana-Biyik is 24 years of age, is great in possession, has outstanding physical attributes and was once a highly rated prospect. 

Wenger could turn Kana-Biyik's career around, whose transfer stock has depreciated like former Rennes player Yann M'Vila, but character problems will be a stumbling block. 


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