Ligue 1 footballers have become in recent times, cheap imports for Premier Leagues. One man who is quietly beginning to be linked with English clubs is Etienne Capoue.
South-west French side, Toulouse has 24-year-old Capoue who is a genuine talent already that appears to be more than a mere trivial rumor, which tends to arise from an inform player on the continent. He is the club’s star midfielder having lost Mohammed Sissoko to Newcastle in January.
He’s responded to criticism from French manager Didier Deschamps in recent months by putting in consistently strong performances. Capoue impressed me very much vs Nice on Saturday night. He’s now scored three goals in the past two games, but it must be stressed that one of Capoue’s main strengths is his ability to sit in the midfield. Discipline is clearly something on his mind throughout the game, as he often recognises that it is best to stay deep rather than push forward unnecessarily. He sits as the deepest player in the Touluse midfielder, acting as not only a initiator for attacks but also another important and useful tool; he is able to find space and pick simple passes from tight areas when the heat is on. Simple is a good adjective to describe his playing style. However, there is still more to him that just that. He has the aptness to pick a pass that requires vision that can move and change the tempo.
His dribbling ability was also been surprisingly impressive. It wasn’t something that I expected giving the fact that he is quite built. Due to his size, he doesn’t have a great amount of pace but his sudden change in speeds proves very handy. This combined with quick feet can result in some swift turns and intricate, cutting runs.
His defense comes from more than just positioning. There’s controlled aggression and power. At 6’2, he is able to win plenty in the air. Combined with the help of Adrien Rabiot, is a very strong midfield. Against Nice, Capoue showed all these traits. It’s easy to see why he’s playing for France with both defensive and attacking capabilities. Capoue muscled a defender out of the way before receiving a quick one-two, to then pull of a neat chip over the Nice goalkeeper for their second goal. At the start of the second half, he did seemed out of the game, but the midfield battle had certainly died down. His performance at the end of the game was one cannot forget. Calm, composed, simple, diverse yet strong and combative. If I had one criticism, it was that he doesn’t use his left foot enough, but that’s perhaps pedantic.
So which clubs would be interested in the French man? Or maybe a better question currently is, who would he suit?
Well Arsenal have already been linked with him, and we know that Arsene Wenger is not afraid to dip into the French market. One factor that Arsenal have really missed in recent years is leadership. Capoue seems to show that. I saw Capoue frequently giving tips to teammates. Toulouse lost the Nice game, which was honestly, rather frantic, hot-blooded, eventful and exciting. However, Capoue really stood out. I recall myself many times going “Capoue again!” after a successful slide tackle, use of strength or simple piece of play that changed the outlook of a move.
I’m sure clubs have examined him with their scouts and have a much deeper insight into his demeanor. He seems more of a hardworking, mature footballer from my viewings to that of other players. Yann M’Villa was strongly linked with a Premier League move earlier this year, but moved to Rubin Kazan — the reason other than money, is that apparently he wasn’t professional enough.
Personally, i would compare Capoue with Alex Song. Song, now with Barcelona, was used by Arsenal as a holding midfielder. However, he failed to ‘hold’ as the role states enough; he was at times clumsy too. Capoue seems more controlled in a challenge and together in the position.
Currently, Capoue looks very decent. It’ll be interesting to return to the topic in the future. For now, I have hit my word limit.