Gueïda Fofana 20 Midfielder Lyon
***New Patrick Vieira. New Patrick Vieira. New Patrick Vieira.***
Everyone else has said it, so we will too. Let’s just get that out of the way right now.
We hate doing that sort of thing, but sometimes it is entirely reasonable to make these kind of comparisons when there is a justifiable reason.
But before we get too carried away, and without wanting to be responsible for a bout of internet based, behind closed doors chanting…there is only one Patrick Vieira.
A good footballing education at the excellent academy at Le Havre (initially alongside Manchester United’s Paul Pogba) had prepared Fofana well and he was afforded a Ligue 2 debut in 2009.
Some fine outings in France’s second tier ensured that the physical but gifted midfielder was noted by scouts from Ligue 1, but it is Fofana’s displays at junior international level, especially in this summer’s Under 20 World Cup, that have really stood out.
France did not win the tournament in Columbia, but captain Fofana was a marvel for his team throughout. Having narrowly missed out on a January transfer to Aston Villa (a move that we maintain would have been a little too early in the player’s career), Fofana arrived at Lyon on August 31 to compete alongside Maxime Gonalaons in the arduous task of filling the Jeremy Toulalan sized void at the Stade de Gerland.
As we mention in the Gonalons post, competition for the defensive midfield slot, or slots, in the French national side is in the rudest of rude health right now. Fofana and Gonalons two of several very likely lads set to compete for a place in Laurent Blanc’s team. For our part, we rate Fofana as *technically* the finest of this rich crop, but we consider Gonalons the best option right now for club and - possibly - country.
Fofana is a good player, and he can certainly carry the midfield destroyer role with an air of panache. However, he is only just twenty and if we’d had any say, we’d have suggested a Ligue 1 side other than Lyon. Sorry Lyon.
Can’t blame Rémi Garde for picking up one of France’s brightest talents, but we remain unconvinced as to whether the intense competition between Gonalons and Fofana will benefit both. Just a hunch.
Oh, and we think he’s more like Claude Makélélé anyway….
"Stand-out performer for France at Under-20 World Cup, prior to joining Lyon on four-year deal. Dubbed the new Vieira. The future is his." - Tom Williams (Journalist)
"Limitless potential, excellent for the France U20 side at Columbia and was made captain. Aston Villa had him on trial but couldn't get a deal done. Strong leader, good passer and can score goals." - Andrew Gibney (French Football Weekly)
C- Stick at it.