10 facts about reported Arsenal transfer target Josuha Guilavogui

If they don't manage to sign Newcastle United star Yohan Cabaye, then the St Etienne player may be considered. Here is a fact-file on the player...

Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Yohan Cabaye in recent days, as Arsene Wenger finally looks ready to spend some of the almost mythical warchest at his disposal this summer.

The interest in the Newcastle United midfielder is sufficiently strong that it has seen the French international not feature in The Toon’s last two Premier League fixtures - with reports he asked not to play in the game against West Ham United last weekend.

But Arsenal are now readying plan B options, with the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Gareth Barry being mentioned as possible alternatives to Cabaye - and a new name has now joined that growing list.

It is today reported that Arsenal could turn their attention to Josuha Guilavogui if a deal to sign Cabaye fails to materialise.

So what can we tell you about him?

1) 22-year-old defensive midfielder Guilavogui started his football education at local clubs La Marine Toulon and Sporting Toulon. He then moved to Loire to play in the youth system at Les Verts in 2005.

2) Guilavogui went to the same primary school as Newcastle United target Bafetimbi Gomis. Gomis went on to look after the younger player during his time at St Etienne.

3) The 6ft 2ins powerhouse received his debut in January 2009 in a Coupe de France match against Bordeaux.

4) The manager who gave him his first step into professional football was former Portsmouth boss Alain Perrin.

5) Nowadays he acts as the vice-captain for the club, taking the armband when Loic Perrin is either unavailable or not selected.

6) As well as playing in midfield, he has been used on occasion as an emergency centre back.

7) He is also a regular in the youth teams for the French national football set-up - playing at Under-18, 19 and 21 level.

8) He recently made his debut for Les Bleus senior outfit and now has three caps - all coming recently against Uruguay, Brazil and Belgium.

9) Before deciding to play for France he was often asked to play international football for Guinea - with whom he qualifies through his mother.

10) Despite his predominantly defensive role, Guilavogui is not averse to scoring goals - usually using his supreme athleticism to race clear beyond defenders before finishing. Not dissimilar to the way in which a certain Patrick Vieira used too - but I will stop short of dubbing him ‘the next Vieira’.

image: © manuel | MC

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