Idrissa Gueye: Lille’s energetic midfielder an ideal target for Aston Villa

Aston Villa are closing in on the signing of Lille’s Idrissa Gueye. At the reported £9m, Gueye would become Villa’s biggest signing since they got Charles N’Zogbia from Wigan.

Marseille, the club in distress at the moment, had reportedly come very close to signing the player for £7.5m, but the player was keen on a move to the Premier League.

The Villains were battling relegation at one point last season but after Tim Sherwood took over, the side did well to ensure top flight safety along with reaching the FA Cup final. Sherwood is hoping he can do much better with his side this season and perhaps finish in the top half of the table and reach the latter stages of the domestic cups. He has already started building for it by signing Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair and Gueye could follow the duo.

Gueye joined Lille from the renowned Diambars academy in his native Senegal in 2008 as an 18 year-old. The defensive midfielder has firmly established his place in the club’s side and has made over 130 appearances for Lille.

He was part of the French outfit when they won the title in 2011. The departure of Yohan Cabaye, Eden Hazard and later Dimitri Payet meant Gueye’s role for Lille became even more instrumental over the course of time, and over the last two seasons, he has shown constant maturity and improvement.

The 25 year-old is a strong defensive midfielder who focuses on his primary job of shielding the defence and ensuring dominance in the heart of the pitch. He has been deployed in a slightly more attacking role at times, which he has done well, but his main strength comes out when he is playing as a defensive midfielder.

His wonderful ability to read the game, as well as the strength he shows despite his lanky built, stand out the most. He averaged 2.8 interceptions a game, which illustrate his ability to read the game. He can effectively break up play, track opposite attackers and his high energy provides a reassuring presence to the defenders he is shielding slightly ahead. As expected from a holding midfielder, he can tackle with efficiency and averaged 3.1 tackles per game in the league last seasons.

As he has grown older, he has started moving up-front and taking part in the attacking side of the game more. He can hold on to the ball when in possession, which helps his attacking side of the game. He scored 4 goals and got 2 assists in the league last season, which are indicative of the fact that he has started getting more involved in the attacks.

The Villa fans and the manager will not miss Tom Cleverley’s energy and enthusiasm in the middle of the pitch with Gueye around. His style of play looks ideal for the English Premier League and one can expect the player to make an immediate impact for Villa and at the sum he is being brought in for, nothing less should be expected.


Written by Aakriti Mehrotra

Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1

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