The Premier League’s rise to global prominence has been aided and abetted by many factors, one of those being Franceâ€™s Ligue 1. Players such as Cantona, Henry, Pires, Dugarry and Ginola developed their talent in France and later provided the flair and excitement which had previously been in limited supply around English grounds.
Just as important but much less exciting has been Ligue 1â€™s contribution to the holding midfielder position. The master Makakele was instrumental in heralding Chelseaâ€™s elevation to silverware contenders, while other successful proponents of this position include Petit, Diarra and Flamini.
As such, it is of no surprise then that Everton have expressed an interest in Stephane Mbia, Stade Rennaisâ€™ holding midfielder. The 23-year-old Cameroonian stands at 6 ft 1 inches guaranteeing a physical presence which is so important in the rough and tumble of the Premier League. Fellaini and Mbia would offer a big central midfield presence if ever there was one.
Mbia hails from the Kadj Sports academy in Douala whose other notable graduates include Samuel Eto’o. In 2004 he moved to Stade Rennais where he has been instrumental in helping the unfashionable club to five consecutive top seven finishes contributing 7 goals in 124 appearances.
David Moyes possesses a great record in purchasing players, especially midfielders, for Everton. Fellaini, Cahill, Arteta and Pienaar have all contributed to Evertonâ€™s great FA Cup run and fifth position finish. His eye for a bargain, tactical nous and ability to nurture youngsters, have quite rightly led to him being considered one of the best managers in the Premiership.
Rather than being a purchase which will try and propel Everton into a Champions League position (a consistent striker would be needed for that), Moyes is looking to guarantee Evertonâ€™s miserliness in conceding goals.
It has been reported reported in the press that Everton have agreed a fee of 9 million Euros with Rennes and only personal terms are to be agreed. With reports that Steve Bruce is also looking at the player and with Sunderlandâ€™s new found millions Evertonians must be worried that the deal has not been finalised as yet. Could the deal be hijacked? We will have to wait and see.
Video evidence of Stephane Mbia can be seen here.