22 Midfielder Internazionale France
The player perennially linked to every Champions League club and many more besides finally got his move in the summer and while he left the madness of Monaco behind, he moved to another nearly club hoping to make a big impact. Inter’s star may have faded slightly but Roberto Mancini shuffled his pack in an effort to get back among Italy’s elite. The long-mooted move for Yaya Toure never came and that was in part because Kondogbia represented a cheaper and, whisper it, perhaps longer term an even better prospect.
2015 has been…
…the year he’s finally become his own man.
We hate it when a player is tagged “the new [insert great player]” on so many levels, but one that keeps coming up every time an imposing young defensive midfielder emerges grates particularly. Geoffrey Kondogbia is not the new Patrick Vieira, they are two very different players, but he seems to have spent the greater part of his fledging career being compared to New York City’s manager.
This year he really came into his own in Monaco’s midfield, becoming the dominant force in front of a tight back four and a huge reason why they conceded the fewest goals of any team in Ligue 1. His performance against Arsenal in February finally convinced them to try and sign him but Inter moved quickly, allegedly spurred into action by a supposed agreement with city rivals Milan, and a hefty but justifiable €35m fee was agreed.
Mancini turned his squad over this summer but Kondogbia represented his biggest outlay by some way. So far he’s settling well, become an instant first team regular, a match winner against Torino and a huge reason for Inter’s rise to the top of Serie A. He’s always looked a player but the move’s answered any questions. Really good progress
More of the same hopefully, at club level you certainly couldn’t ask for much more. He’s already a full international but has found himself out of the squad lately, Didier Deschamps recently saying it was to allow him time to settle in Italy. In truth that French midfield berth is one of the toughest to get in Europe - Diarra, Matuidi, Schneiderlin and Sissoko to compete with, Pogba immovable - but just to be around the squad is enough at the moment. His time will come, and evidence suggests he’ll take the chance when offered.
Wherever Inter finish this season his contribution will have been big and certainly enough to justify the faith shown in him by Mancini. We’ll admit a soft spot for both club and player here, they seem a good match and long may that continue for both’s sake.
B One of the best in his position in Europe at the moment, if he adds a few goals he may well be on the radar of the super clubs
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