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Aston Villa end their 28-season long stay in the Premier League this summer. Their personnel’s lack of passion – and not lack of quality – has been attributed to their colossal failures as Tim Sherwood had brought down proven stars such as Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and a handful of Ligue 1 players, including former Ligue 1 winner in Idrissa Gueye last summer.
The 26-year-old former Lille midfielder arrived to much fanfare in the wake of his heroics at Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Fans rejoiced as they were assured that their beloved club had signed an eager beaver, who steadied Lille last season whilst his colleagues misfired big-time, to fill the Fabian Delph-shaped hole.
However, the established internationals failed to live up to the fans’ expectations with the Villans collecting a meagre 16 points of the possible 93, but, amidst dressing room politics and heavy criticism, Gueye has been discreetly producing fine performances that have largely gone under the radar.
Fish out of water
The Senegal international tops the interceptions chart – ahead of POTY contender N’Golo Kante – averaging 4.83 interceptions and ranks second in tackles as he has averaged 4.4 successful tackles. In addition, he boasts an incredible pass completion rate – 86 percent – which stresses upon the completeness of his game.
Despite his contributions, he, much like every other Villa player, has been lambasted for questionable attitude. Besides, his discipline remains a major issue as he has averaged two fouls per game; only Lucas Leiva has averaged more this season. In addition, he is yet to have a direct hand in goal despite playing more than 2400 minutes.
However, it is a truism that the quality of his colleagues negatively catalyzes his attitude as his individual performances have been amongst the Premier League’s bests this season. Given he has garnered 7.34 performance ratings– sixteenth best in the English top-flight – from WhoScored, playing amongst players of his calibre will ostensibly skyrocket his stocks, and he will perhaps score a goal or two.
Potential bargain summer signing
Marseille have seemingly registered their interest in taking him back to Ligue 1 next season, but with Kante’s heroics highlighting the need for a robust midfielder in the middle of the park to achieve big in England, the lure of his attributes shall be too much for the likes of Crystal Palace or even Everton come summer.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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