Who wants M'Vila?
Pierre Dreossi, the general manager of Rennes, has confirmed that Tottenham Hotspur are in the hunt for Yan M'Vila and inferred that Arsenal are in the chase. Zenit St Petersburg, a well-heeled Russian club have also thrown their hat into the ring but the player is not keen on a Russian adventure.
What does M'Vila offer?
M'Vila would make either starting eleven and represent a valuable asset. While pinpoint 50 yard passes are not his forte, he does have a strong engine and is a ferocious tackler. He offers excellent defensive cover and would suit a team with a quick, short, passing mentality. He is young, has room to improve and has broken into the French national team. He is the sort of player who could be considered part of the spine of a team. Likening him to Patrick Vieira is overstating his overall game but it does sum up his physical presence and attitude on the field of play.
What are his weaknesses?
The 22 year old, right-footed, Frenchman is no angel. He had a spectacular hissy-fit when substituted during France's quarter-final Euro 2012 encounter with Spain and has had a couple of brushes with the law. He describes himself as passionate (hot-headed is an equally accurate translation), when not shown respect. His footballing persona is however more prosaic, having picked up just the one red card in Ligue 1 since 2009/10 .
Where is he needed most urgently?
Arsenal have a Song-shaped hole in this position, while Spurs already have competent cover in Livermore, Sandro, Huddlestone, Parker and arguably Jenas. Parker however will be out injured unit mid-September and there are signs that Villas Boas is looking to have a wholesale clear out.
Spurs would therefore be in the market for both a creative and defensive midfielder, as the last chapter of the Modric chronicles surely limps towards its bitter conclusion.
Both Arsenal and Spurs fans will have found the Van Persie and Modric sagas exasperating, albeit for slightly different reasons.
The red and white sectors of North London would shudder to think that they have much in common but in terms of affluence and aspiration, their proximity is not merely geographical.
What can Arsenal and Spurs offer the player?
M'Vila is at the point in his career when he has earned the right to operate on a bigger stage. The Gunners have the lure of the Champions League, while Villas-Boas can offer the player the opportunity to be an integral part of an exciting new project. He can also argue that Tottenham's absence from the Champions League this year was an administrative fluke.
Where will he go?
Given the almost hourly updates on this story, nothing is certain but both Arsenal and Spurs would delight in a regulation forcing clubs to genuinely live within their means, as opposed to one you could drive a truck through.
In the absence of such a law, both teams are trying to play poker with Rennes, knowing full well that one of the billionaire clubs could stride in at any moment and walk away with their prize.