Arsenal Transfers: Scouting Report for Yann M'Vila

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 8, 2012

Arsenal Transfers: Scouting Report for Yann M'Vila

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    Arsenal are said to be in the running for French midfielder Yann M'Vila this summer and journalist Julien Laurens has tweeted that the deal is "99 percent done."

    The player himself has admitted that Arsenal have the edge in transfer negotiations thanks to their manager being French and it seems a four-year deal has been agreed upon.

    With Arsenal fans everywhere anticipating the signing, let's take a look at what the Frenchman brings to the table.

    Here is a scouting report for M'Vila, detailing everything you need to know about him.


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    Name: Yann M'Vila

    Age: 21

    Position: Defensive midfield, central midfield

    Club History: Rennes (2004-present)

    Like many, M'Vila represented several youth teams before settling at Rennes. He broke into the first team in 2008 and broke his international duck in 2010.

    He's a record holder too, as he completed 92.5 percent of 124 passes during France's win over Luxembourg. Arsene Wenger was found sitting in the corner frothing at the mouth afterwards.


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    Keeps it Simple

    One of the reasons Yann M'Vila is such a positive presence in the Rennes team is his ability to keep it simple. This suits Arsene Wenger down to the ground.

    His short game is excellent and he would slot into Arsenal's formation with ease. He averaged 70.8 passes per game in Ligue 1 this season, demonstrating that he was integral to his team's build up.

    Watch him for France this summer. The long balls he plays are excellent, but the majority of the time he's happy to drop it off to Marvin Martin, Karim Benzema, Philippe Mexes or Samir Nasri.

    Mikel Arteta will love him.

    Clean (On the Field, Anyway)

    In the role he plays, you expect yellow cards. Nigel de Jong takes it a bit far but a battling midfielder will usually pick up between five and 10 cautions per season.

    From 111 total tackles in the league this season, he's picked up just two yellows and no reds. That's pretty impressive considering the protective role he takes up.

Strengths (2)

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    Yann M'Vila is more than just the modern prototypical anchor midfielder. With his passing skills and calm playing style, he could be mistaken for a deep-lying playmaker.

    At times, it almost seems like he is two players mashed together, as his passing skills are supplemented by good tackling and phenomenal determination and commitment.

    Even though he doesn't really want to be at Rennes any more, he hasn't slacked off. He leaves it all on the pitch every weekend.


    One thing you must have as a top-tier central midfielder is a good engine.

    Players in the middle average over 10 kilometres per gamesomething you can't do unless you've done the physical work.

    M'Vila is a complete athlete and a born runner. He won't be slowing down any time soon.


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    Aerially Challenged

    It's difficult to pick holes in Yann M'Vila's game because there aren't many flaws.

    On the whole, he seems the complete defensive midfielder but if there's one area he could contribute more, it's in the aerial department.

    He wins an average of 1.1 aerial duels per game. He is only 6'0'', so you can't expect the world of him, but this is one way you can get the better of the Frenchman.

    Off-field Antics

    It'd be remiss not to mention his off-field issues. They don't affect his performances on the pitch, but it's certainly something to be aware of when signing a player for big bucks.

    He recently got arrested and spent the night in a cell. Why? He punched a 17-year-old. At the time, this was reported to have affected any potential deal, but now we can see that likely isn't the case.


    He's not the complete midfielder. Although he doesn't play in a position where your likely to score goals, he is lacking in that side of his game. 

    It seems ridiculous to even talk about considering what he does for a team, but he's only scored two goals in over 100 appearances at club level so far. That is worth a mention.

Comparing Across Arsenal's Midfield

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    Arsenal don't have anyone as disciplined as Yann M'Vila in their side.

    Alex Song is the current pick at defensive midfield but his attacking, creative instincts are starting to get the better of him. That's great for Song, but badon the wholefor the shape of the Gunners midfield.

    If M'Vila signed, Song could push up next to Mikel Arteta or rotate with the Frenchman in the anchor role. It'd also be easier to build up from the back as Arsene Wenger likes to do.

    Central midfield is very much a concern with Aaron Ramsey stuttering, so M'Vila would be a good signing which fits a need in the Arsenal side.

Comparing Across the Board

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    Yann M'Vila is a rather different player. He was once thought of as France's next midfield destroyer, limited to breaking up play and screening his back four.

    This isn't the case, as the Frenchman has shown composure and patience on the ball coupled with a safe playing style. He's actually much more than a screen. He patrols, protects and distributes from just in front of the centre-backs.

    It's important to compare him to players so you can get a feel for how he plays. There is a lot of talk about M'Vila, but footage of him at Rennes is at a premium.

    At a push, I'd compare him to either Lars Bender or Bastian Schweinsteiger. He plays it simple, keeps it calm and controls the midfield. You don't get overrun with this guy in your team.

Conclusion and Value

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    The reported fee is €22 million on a four-year deal for £60,000 per week—worth it.

    Arsene Wenger has made a shrewd move by securing him before the Euro 2012 Championshipsit'll only take one game against England to push his price up by €5 million.

    Listening to talkSPORT, a lot of people have called in to say it's not what they'd spend €20-odd million on, but don't feel upset about the prospective deal either.

    I'll admit the Gunners have more pressing concerns than midfield but at the rate Wenger is going, every need will be addressed.

    Star signing.

    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored?