Sevilla's defensive midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia is an Arsenal transfer target, according to Sky Sports. Here is a detailed report of Kondogbia's season thus far and whether or not the Gunners should buy him.
The 6'2" French youth international, 20, made his Ligue 1 debut as a 17-year-old for Lens in a 3-1 defeat to Lyon.
Kondogbia only played 116 minutes (the equivalent of one full game plus 26 minutes) during Lens' relegation to Ligue 2, in a season more remembered for manager Jean-Guy Wallemme's resignation and the emergence of Raphaël Varane. Varane was impressive as a No. 6, but would go on to become a world-class centre-back prospect for Real Madrid.
Kondogbia was a mainstay in Lens' starting XI for the 2011-12 season, though he wasn't ranked in France Football's Top 100 rated Ligue 2 players, let alone the Ligue 2 Team of the Year.
However, Kondogbia states he had the final say (via Daniel Pinilla at Marca): "Sevilla showed greater interest in me [than Juve] and I knew that I would have a better chance of first-team football."
He made his first La Liga start seven games into the season and has since displaced experienced Dutchman Hedwiges Maduro—the former Ajax and Valencia player—as Gary Medel's double-pivot partner.
Kondogbia is a lively and industrious defensive midfielder. His 2.6 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per league game would be significantly higher if 77.8 percent of his matches were not sub-affected.
He has a propensity to surge past players à la Yaya Touré, but Kondogbia doesn't possess the offensive skill level or confidence to continue his runs.
Touré will hurt opposing teams, whereas Kondogbia doesn't know what to do, hence why he has not scored a goal with his feet in La Liga.
Kondogbia is Sevilla's second most accurate passer (87.5) behind Medel (88.6).
Whilst the Frenchman does keep it simple—60.8 percent of his passes go forward and 80 percent of his long diagonal balls have been pin-point—so he does have the capacity to transition into an elite ball-playing midfielder.
We would give simple tasks to Felipe Melo. He has the physicality and personality, but not great vision of the game.
If the opposing player comes too forward and enters a space, he has some difficulty handling him.
We searched to give him points of reference.
This is the same with Kondogbia. He has a noticeable weakness in tracking runs and he has been subbed off in 13 of 27 games. This gives you an indication of how tactically liable he is in the eyes of management.
Kondogbia relies heavily on his athleticism to compensate for being caught out of position.
Abel Aguilar—a crafty Colombian midfielder for Deportivo La Coruña—took advantage of Kondogbia's ball-watching, and seconds later created the goal for Riki.
The run Abel made are the types of runs Michu, Rickie Lambert, Chicharito and other high IQ footballers perform intuitively in the Premier League.
Kondogbia is 6'2", so why does 5'7" Medel average 0.1 more headers won per game?
If the Frenchman's positioning were better, he would win more headers.
French Football Weekly's Maher Mezahi recounted Kondogbia's immaturity as an up and coming Lens footballer:
It wasn’t Kondogbia’s talent that was in doubt; it was his attitude. There were complaints of egotism on the pitch and bouts of stupidity off of it.
Last April, Kondogbia was caught driving without a permit. When called to the precinct, Kondogbia presented an embarrassingly dyslexic driver’s license (Belgique was spelled ‘Blegique’) which only exacerbated his case.
In the end, Lens intervened and Kondogbia got off lightly when the court settled for a minimal fine of €7,000 euros.
Mezahi interviewed Sevilla football aficionado Abshir Maxamed, who believes the club still have the right of transfer (via FFW): "Doyen Group now own 50 percent of Kondogbia’s contract, but they have no federative rights in him, Sevilla have those rights."
Mercedes Torrecilla at Marca explained the situation Sevilla president José María del Nido was in having requested the financial assistance of the Doyen Group: "If a club offers €6 million or more, but without offering the player's full €20 million buy-out clause, Sevilla would have to pay Doyen half the amount offered to fully own him."
Should Arsenal Buy Kondogbia?
How much money do cash-strapped Sevilla want?
Patrick Vieira cost £3.5 million, so anything above that for Kondogbia is not value-for-money considering how raw he is. If Arenal manager Arsène Wenger is going to make a judgement call on potential, he should go with Ramsey.
The Welshman's positional awareness since moving into the defensive midfield role has been brilliant, and his 91 percent tackling rate is on another level when compared to Kondogbia's (80).