How so much can change in the space of a few months. It was June 2012. After injuring his ankle, the hopes of a nation were hanging in the balance as (now) 22-year-old, Yann M’Vila limped off during a pre-Euro 2012 friendly against Serbia, and with good reason. He was a key player under France manager at the time, Laurent Blanc’s system as well as one of the most coveted players in the world at the time, seen as the best potential defensive midfielder in the world for years to come. His club manager, Frederic Antonetti even went on to say, “Yann M’Vila won’t be a Stade Rennais player next season,” resigned by a potential departure with Rennes wanting at least £20 million for the young Frenchman’s signature.
Fast forward to November 2012 and M’Vila – still a Rennes player – is heading into obscurity; and it’s the perfect time to buy him for Europe’s top clubs.
After a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign for France, M’Vila was facing disciplinary action for not shaking hands with Blanc or his replacement in France’s quarterfinal exit against Spain when he was substituted out for Olivier Giroud.
M’Vila only got a warning in the end but there were repercussions – he hasn’t been called up the senior side ever since, nor did any club – including favorites Arsenal and Inter Milan - eventually sign him despite Rennes lowering his transfer fee, and it’s fair to say that this has affected him mentally.
With no motivation and a major blip in form, M’Vila soon lost his place in the first eleven of the Rennes team with new loan signing, Jean Makoun preferred while new France manager, Didier Deschamps dropped the midfielder to the France U21’s. Things got even worse when the player was dropped to the Rennes reserves and now, in recent news, he’s reached the bottom of the pit, being banned from all French national teams until after the 2014 World Cup due to attending a nightclub before an U21 game. So with M’Vila out of favor both at club and country, why is it the perfect time for big European clubs to go after him?
For one, you don’t lose quality – M’Vila wasn’t praised for nothing all this while. There’s a reason why Antonetti said the 22 year old "reads the game like Makélélé, has the presence of Vieira and can pass the ball like Yaya Touré." There’s a reason why compatriot, Laurent Koscielny labelled him a “player with enormous quality.” There's a reason why M'Vila was linked to a host of top clubs. Moving to a new club with new surroundings can be the start of a new beginning for M’Vila where he can rediscover his form and potential.
Another aspect is that he is now cheap - unwanted and out of favor, M’Vila could be bought for as low as £5 million which is quite a bargain given he could be a great success and even if that’s not the case, a lot of money wouldn’t be spent on him, hence, not an excessive loss.
In addition, with his ban on the international stage, M’Vila won’t be called up to the France side until July 2014, meaning that during the international games, instead of playing and risking injury/fatigue, he’ll be getting rest which would allow his parent club to maintain his fitness better.
There is the case however, of M’Vila’s personality, attitude and mental state – is it worth taking a risk on? It is said that one of the transfer market secrets is to buy a player with personal problems at a cut-price deal & help them deal with it – Arsenal did this with Robin van Persie, AC Milan did this with Zlatan Ibrahimovic while Newcastle did this with Hatem Ben Arfa, with the results all positive.
M’Vila is surely worth a punt and can greatly improve teams in need of a central midfielder such as Arsenal, Manchester United among many others – the only question is if the punt is risk-free.