As Arsenal fans ponder a rather disappointing transfer window from their point of view, they can at least look back on a far more successful summer window – which saw the arrival of Mesut Ozil and the return of Mathieu Flamini.
But another player was heavily linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium, a player who would have been ideal for the Gunners given their current injuries and suspensions.
Geoffrey Kondogbia was linked with a whole host of clubs last summer. With a release-clause of €20million, the Sevilla midfielder was hot property, and Arsene Wenger was reportedly considering a move.
In the end, Flamini on a free transfer. But how Arsenal could have done with Kondogbia now – not least following the news that new signing Kim Kallstrom has suffered an injury in his very first Gunners training session, the severity of which is not yet known.
Instead Kondogbia moved to Monaco, and proceeded to have a pretty underwhelming time.
To begin with he struggled for minutes and was the subject of criticism when he did make it on to the pitch. But now French newspaper L’Equipe is hailing the same player as a vital component for Claudio Ranieri’s side following his outstanding performance last weekend against Marseille.
That was his second consecutive league start, and in it he set up his second goal in two matches. In fact his performance was such that L’Equipe called him “both the wall and the motor” – praising both his ability to break up the play and his knack of creating chances further up the field.
Kondogbia is quoted in the report as admitting that his early months in the Principality were not easy.
“It was a frustrating first half of the season,” he reportedly said, “but if I have not played there might be a reason. Now I’m ready. I try to work hard and I think it’s starting to pay off. My answers must be on the field, I have to prove I can be in the starting line-up.”
It appears he is now doing just that. How Arsenal could have done with him in their own first XI given their current problems.
image: © john1710