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August 2021

This summer’s signings: M’Vila

By Tony Attwood

I love watching Alex Song play.  Not just because he is a wonderful player, but also because way back (2007 I think) he was one of the players attacked by the anti-Wengerians, who claimed that Song was not fit to wear the shirt.

Today we can only look and marvel at those astonishing passes and tackles, and recall that he cost us £1m from Bastia.  Inter, Juve, Man U, Lyon all were said to want him.  But he came to us on loan, and then for £1m.

Not fit to wear the shirt indeed.  Where are you now, you people who said that?

Today there is no question that Song is first choice, but the question of back up is one that exercises the mind.   There is Frimpong, but we don’t know yet if we will make a full recovery from his second major operation, and there is thought that defensively we need more players to cover the endless, endless injuries we get each season.   We have a lot of other players too, but if we want to be playing with two holding midfielders in a tough away fixture, we probably do need someone else.

And if we do sign such a player Yann M’Vila is said to be the preferred option.

He is 21, has 18 France caps, would probably cost £17 million from Rennes.

M’Vila signed professionally for Rennese in August 2007 and started out in the reserves in the 4th division in France, joining the first team squad the following season.

Not everything went perfectly as there was a lot of concern about the players attitude and commitment, but when the management of the club changed for 2009/10 things settled down and M’Vila started to appear in the side, first as a sub and then quickly as a starter.

Rather like Patrick Vieira at Arsenal, once he started he never stopped, and he secured his place in the team for each game where he was fit and not suspended.  Ever since then Real Madrid are said to have been interested, along with the usual round of English names including Liverpool (who probably don’t have the cash to be able to afford him).

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His contract with Rennes runs until June 2015.

In internationals he has played for France in the under 16, under 17, under 18  under 19 (wherein he was captain) and under 21 teams, and the full national squad.
Does he sign for us?  I really don’t know of course, but a lot of people are talking about it happening so probably, he won’t.   Most Arsenal signings seem to come out of nowhere.
But then again, you never know.

46 comments to This summer’s signings: M’Vila

  • addy

    He’d be a great signing indeed. An absolute beast of a dm.

  • Wilson

    He is a great player come on professor get his signature ASAP Gooners for life.

  • Sid

    Francis Coqielin is the player you are referring to, we dont need M’Villa, certainly not for £17m!

  • bahati moses

    This will make us title contenders.along with king poldi,Belhanda,Vertogen and Giroud we will be champs!please ARSENE do us this favour.

  • Dan

    Granted I haven’t seen M’Vila play (well not that much), Francis Coqielin looks the complete package to me.

  • tobechukwu

    thank so much arsenal fans and co….base on what I’ve seen now, i think M’villa would be a good replacement for song,…..but song isn’t gonna get injury or sent-off a match….i doubt.. but in this particular case i think wenger really knows best on what to do hn! guys…let hope he buys players this season…denilson would’ve be the good replacement for him in case of any injury crises or send-off..but due to lack of indiscipline he has…i think denilson got more experience and matches more than frimpong and coquline….but he’s gone for now…i think wenger would go for good experience players that can compete for song as off moment ….it’s good to have him in arsenal….
    there’s one thing,…what of diaby…is he not good enough to replace him …? although he’s an box- box midfield evn can play flanks…for example: 2008/2009 campion leage against AC-MILAN he really played well on that position….but i think arsenal and wenger really need tackling midfield like song…hope to see M’villa and ventroghen and podolski…that’s all…have a nice day…hn! ….fans love you all…wenger..

  • John

    We have to be realistic, Will Frimpong recover fully? Will he avoid the red mist and red card moments? Coquelin looks good but he is very young and inexperienced. Song can’t be expected to do it on his own for a whole season, there’s bound to be an injury at some point and a suspension is almost inevitable.

    M’Villa at £17 million sounds expensive, but in my opinion would be invaluable.

    Imagine Song and M’Villa as holding mid-fielders when we play at places like Old Trafford or The Etihad.

    Sign him up Arsene! Sign him up!

  • DR

    From everything I’ve heard he seems like the right kind of signing we should make as he’s experienced at a young age rather than just starting out. In Frimpong we have someone with the power but less of the finesse, and with Coquelin we have someone with the finesse but less of the power, not to say that the Coq isn’t strong and tenacious and nor is it to say that Frimpong cannot pass or completely lacks composure but neither embodies the required combination, yet. We’re sorted for the future but relatively experienced backup to Song is a priority position imo, along with a striker.

  • John

    By the way! Springtime is here, you haven’t put your clock forward.

  • babasola tokoya

    the three best summer signings that will make arsenal to challenge for trophy next season are podoski mann villa and verntoghen Then arsenal should weed out the following players to reduce their wage bill alumina squillaci chamakh park denilson bendtner benanyoun and posibly dojorou and i will bet that we will land two trophies next season

  • ak47

    would be nice if it happened but 17mil? if we didnt have fran then maybe. plus if it was a smokescreen for jan i wouldnt mind.

    he’s left footed, played with the verminator and would fit in perfectly playing in a two man dm set up as he would seamlessly slot in for thomas when he decides to become a striker. and would provide cover for gibbs/santos, gervs/ryo being natural lefty.

    plus he’s more versatile positionally so he’d cover squillatchi leaving too. bonus. the defensive combinations with him in the squad are tasty to say the least.

  • Lanz

    If we sign him, there will be no other signings up to 17m. You know who I mean?

  • simon

    Im one of those who said song wasnt good enough and i still believe he isnt all that good. as a defensive midfielder hes always caught out of position and doesnt cover the ground quick enough to play the position aswell as giving the ball away far too much in silly positions and always trying to glory pass now as he has hit a few assists.
    however he might play better as more of a attacking option but to be fair if Ramsay can play that position then Song probably can.however he still would not get into Man utd, Man City or Chelsea team. Good enough for Arsenal, not good enough to challenge for premier league.

  • Daniyal

    Would be a waste of money. Judging by the man city Arsenal game in the cup, Coquelin and frimpong are going to be fantastic players. No need to put players in front of them. Let frimpong go on loan next season and make coquelin backup to song. Frimpong seems eager for games so let him have a year on loan. Spend the money on Vetergoen or whatever he is called. Heard he can fill in @ DMF.

    I agree on the song comment. Where are all the haters now. I hatehow some “fans” love critisizing the players when they are developing and learning to play but never put up their hands and admit they were wrong on a player

    Please NOTE: This is the SAME BS that is being said about Aaron Ramsey at the moment that was being said about song. Despite the fact this is his first full season after a career threatening injury.

  • dani

    Cant see this happening to be fair do to the amount of cover we have there with Coquelin and Frimpong then there is also Nico Yanaris as this is considered to be his better position on the park.

  • henry

    It’s amazing how arsenal fans admire other players and ignore theirs,give Coquelin a full season and send Frimpong on a season loan, I bet M’Vila would be third choice in a team that has Coquelin and Frimpong…Next season,Wilshere and Diaby will be like a new signing…buying Podolski and making Afobe wouldn’t be bad @ all

  • Disco Stu

    Surely a creative central playmaker in the mould of Fabregas is up there on the priority list. Seems like Gotze is a no go, Hazard while an incredible talent is more of a dribbled/ winger than a tempo dictating midfielder. Don’t care who it is or how much they cost, could be from Outer Mongolia FC and cost £25,000 for all I care. So long as they can step on the pitch and do the business. Who’d really heard of Viera or Pires or Eduardo or Vermalen or Koscielny or Sagna before. All relative unknowns, all mustard! I don’t care about £1.5m, £15m or £50m I care if they’re quality and they plug the gaps in the squad.

  • DSCH

    Like every other transfer window over the last six or seven years pages and pages of guff gets written by people who know absolutely nothing in terms of realities. Fans get enthused. Truths are revealed. Fans get miffed. It’s like fish in a barrel … again and again and again. And the end result, more often than not, is rank disappointment.

    I suppose one has to pass the time somehow … but geez.

    Especially when almost all the rumours are downright lies and fabrication designed to get the gullible to buy a newspaper or click on a blog.

    And don’t tell me ‘yeah, we know all that … ‘ as if your expectations are uniquely immune. They’re not.

    As I say ‘fish in a barrel’.

    BTW. That’s not to discourage discussion over appropriateness (like this piece) … at least it’s based on something more that a rough hack job in The Sun.

  • luke

    Song is vastly overrated and I wish he could be dropped from the first eleven as he is the weak link in the midfield. Yes every two or three games Song will make and excellent assist but he attempts these through balls over half a dozen times during each match and the vast majority are given away cheaply to the opposition in silly areas (just take Song’s mistimed pass which lead to Everton goal for Drenthe – which luckily for us was wrongly given offside).

    Song isn’t a defensive mdifielder anymore either as he leaves all the defensive work for Arteta (who has been brilliant this season) and i Read stat the other ay that Song is one of the dribbled past players in the league this season.

    I would love the signing of M’Villa superior player who is a superior player to Song.

    I would love too see the following team next season:

    ———-Van Persie———-

  • Tasos

    When it comes to new players Arsenal hope to produce the necessary quality from their youth/reserve set-up, if no one fits the bill then they will enter the transfer market.

    M’villa is attracting plenty of attention, he’s already a regular in the French national team and will thus demand a large transfer fee plus wage. With many big clubs interested in his signature, personally I doubt he will end up at Arsenal.

    M’villa does look a good player but I believe Francis Coquelin deserves his opportunity at Arsenal. His energy levels and tackling remind me of Flamini, he has been impressive in the midfield this season and can also fill in at full-back if required.

  • GiantGooner

    Don’t think of M’Vila as a backup to Song, think of him as our new holding MF and Song as a center MF so that we get to see more of Songinho. I would love to see a M’Vila/Song/Wilshere trio in MF, but I wager that M’Vila goes to Real since we never can compete with them on transfers

  • Mandy dodd

    Would love to see mvila, just as long as it is with song and not as a replacement.
    We are linked with some interesting names these days, including verthongen, but not sure how he will fit in with the scheme of things, the CBS we have are looking pretty good. Vermaelen is pure class, kos, to me second in our player of the year, the bfg has s
    Looked good before injury and will get better, and jd is not the worst 4th choice cb in the world.

  • Damien Luu

    Well, I have promised to myself that I will never, ever pretend that I know something about players and tell Mr. Wenger to do this and not do that anymore. I will just wait to see what he does and enjoy it. That saves me a lot of energy 😀

    But I think we have enough resources to replace Song when he could not play, so I won’t hold my breath.

  • RedGooner

    The position is interesting because when I look at the DM we have I thought none were really in the mold of all the great DM’s we have seen over the years.

    I thought one reason might be the games so much faster now.
    M’Villa I am not sure about this season but the ammount of assists last season was impressive he contributes a lot.

    Frimpong not just the knees and operations is a lunatic for me he needs a season long loan at somewhere like Bolton to see if he can harness that aggressiveness.
    Its not good when you have a reputation at that age for frimponging people and theres plenty out there like stoke players that will gladly frimpong him back, hence more injuries.

    He has the talent not sure on the attitude or aggresiveness you need to defend with skill not nut megging people, coquelin great work effort might be a bit light has a future with arsenal but it might be in a different position.

  • Odu

    This is the challenge. Song is fantastic, he will or should earn a lot of money. Signing players (with big wages) and leaving them on the bench should happen in man city and chelsea with bottomless pockets. Arsenal cant afford that. so there must be a balance in the signing of players and I believe the coach must be doing the calculations. From all indications, next season will be good

  • Arvind

    I thought we had plenty of cover at RB when AW signed Bacary Sagna instead of Viera make 2. So if it happens…while it’ll surprise me.. I wont second guess the prof.

    But really unless Song is off or Coqeulin/Frimpong are NOT gonna make it… I’ll pass on this.

  • Omar

    I do not think Arsenal will be signing M’villa, he will push back the growth of Francis Coquelin and Frimpong. Arsenal have invested too much money into the two players to see them leave. I can see one leaving even if Arsenal does not sign M’villa. I vote for Coqeulin, even though I like Frimpong energy as a DM. Coquelin is just so damn smooth

  • tissiam

    we should buy M,VILLA is great player, im french and watch la ligue 1,and with with we ,ll get consistency.i dont understand why people are talking about him as a cover for song ?first contrary to song he is a natural DM secondly people are talking about frimp,coquel..being the reason we dont need him,wrong!!they aren,t ready yet physicaly,experience wise and technicaly tacticly they have alot room for improvement.IN ARSENE WE TRUST!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    I really wonder how people can say about Song: he is always caught out of position. If he really would be ‘always’ out of position we surely would not be in 3rd place for the moment.
    And what is wrong with a “defensive” midfielder giving a lot of assists?

    And do you really think that other defensive midfielders are NEVER out of position? I have seen song growing and growing on the field and he is not the typical defensive midfielders other teams have. And that is because we are the Arsenal and we just play a different style and we use some kind of alternating system where midfielders complement and replace each other during the game.

  • Caribkid

    My signing would definitely be Jan Vertonghen (Ajax Captain). Although played mainly as a CB alongside Vermaeelen on the Belgium team he plays both CB and DM for Ajax and plays the DM position very well.

    Think of a taller Verminator with better ground skills, excellent reader of the game and good passing skills. Ideal signing because he plays across the back 4 and DM, has leadership qualities, extremely fast for a big man (6′ 2 1/2″) and is a good friend of the Verminator. At 24 he is just reaching his peak and would cost less than M’Villa.

    And yes, I have seen him play numerous times for both Ajax and Belgium.

  • SB

    M’Villa, not going to happen, for that matter any other DM. AW, didn’t sign a DM when there was no back up for Song at the beginning of the season, now we have Frimster & Le Coq.

  • i don’t know why all this so call arsenal fans don’t feel the way that i feel about this club guys we are talking about trophies here we need a world class and experiences players,2 to 3 more players we are there.

  • Odhis KenyanGunner

    IN ARSENE I TRUST. He is the one paid to have that headache, and hes not exactly a rookie neither. Hes been there, done that. So i’d rather not give wish-lists and ill-informed opinions. Its Wenger who spends hours with these fellows in training, as the rest of us ‘experts’ rummage in the blogosphere, getting excited by names lazily thrown around. Someone may be absolutely good in one team, and fail the chemistry of another (Torres, Shevchenko, Ibrahimovic). So i insist; IN WENGER I TRUST. And so must you.

  • Arsenal1Again

    Frimpong can be the Man who pairs up with another DM.
    I think for Arsenal to be a trophy winning team we need M’Vila paired with Song. Frimpong to be paired with whichever one isn’t injured. Coqeulin can be a backup DM or Right Fullback, but for me Frimpong gets the nod.

    With two DM’s covering the backline it releases the attacking players, it allows ligthtning breaks in games where it would have previously been folly.

    To have two DM’s distributing the ball creatively is the difference between winning games trophys and occasionally ginding out decent results.

    Players like Messi are effectively put off their game by tough tacklers like Song and M’Vila, especially after encountering the tough tackling Wilshere. By the time such players get pass Wilshere, Arteta, M’Villa and Song – they think that was a picnic compared to Koscielny, Vermaelen.

    To me, M’Vila represents steel in the team. Something we have now but something that’s not as tough as it needs to be. When the Boltons, Stokes, Blackburns, Wigans of the Premiership are the ones leaving the pitch battered and bruised at full-time, we’re going to win trophys.

  • SB

    £17 M record Arsenal buy for a back-up DM (initially)?

  • Asif

    Well the plan is that Song would be given a more free rover role mostly slotting behind the frontline attack and coming back to defend when needed! With the assists he is making and the sort of precision passing he adds another dimension…and whoever think that he is no good – i don’t know how to put this politely – get your heads sorted! I wouldn’t be wrong to say that his name probably is the first on the team sheet as the things he does no one else can…if you are jealous of the assists then you should also be jealous of the hard tackles he makes. He is one of the rare ones who can get into the skin of the oponents and…”We’ve got only one Song”

  • Ong Bing

    We already have some players that can played defensive role, Song, Arteta, Jack, Coquilin, Frimpong. So we don’t need to buy another expensive DM.

    And if we buy him, Coq and Frimpong will have less time to play. This is not good for their development.

    This case is same when fans want to buy Mark Schwarzer.

  • Ruaridh

    Can I just point out the white elephaunt of having to pay in excess of £17 million if arsene is actually interested in signing M’Vila.

    This figure is inflated due to rival interest and in reality he is not worth this amount of money. If we signed him for that much he would be arsene’s record signing (beating arshavin), which for a defensive midfielder seems ridiculous to me, when that amount of money would normally be used to sign an attacking player. Just because Liverpool sign players for over the odds (re Henderson) or Man City pay excessive amounts for a player in the equivalent position (re De Jong £14 million) does not (as quiete rightly argued by the authors of this blog) mean that we should automatically either.


  • Ruaridh

    Another example would be when Chelsea sighned Ramirez. He cost circa £17 million and has only started to show consistent form after 2 seasons of bedding in. In light of this, should arsenal really use £17 million for a Defensive Midfielder??

    Between £10-12 million would be alot more resonable?

  • Ruaridh


  • Ruaridh

    I would much rather advocate a purchase in the ATM role for a quality player (not even necessarily costing £17 million)…

  • moller

    An European paper said yesterday that we have sealed the deal of podolski left with official introduction, how true is this? Anyway, we need good and experienced players.

  • makenzi

    I have watched M’villa he is just an ordinary defensive midfilder while Songnho is a special type which has been moulded by Wenger. I still remember writing about Song when some fans were complaining that he wants to move forward instead of sitting back and I was telling these people that Arsenal needs an all ronded midfielders and Song is being trained to become one. Now he is an all rounded midfilder who can defend and attack. Wenger’s strategy is to have a team that have all the players capable of attacking.

    Imagine if we had managed to keep Fab4 and Nasri teams will be confused as some of the arsenal attacks will be ochestrated by Song.
    The same applies for Wilshere he is an attacking midfielder whom Wenger has made him to start with a more defensive role so that when he takes his actual role of attacking midfieder Arsenal will be having the ability to defend from the front which will again confuse teams

  • makenzi

    I have watched M’villa he is just an ordinary but effective defensive midfielder while Songinho is a special type which has been moulded by Wenger. I still remember writing about Song when some fans were complaining that he wants to move forward instead of sitting back and I was telling these people that Arsenal needs all rounded midfielders and Song is being trained to become one. Now he is an all rounded midfielder who can defend and attack. Wenger’s strategy is to have a team that have all the players capable of attacking and defending.

    Imagine if we had managed to keep Fab4 and Nasri teams will be confused as some of the arsenal attacks will be ochestrated by Song whillst they are concentrating on Fabregas and Nasri.

    The same applies for Wilshere he is an attacking midfielder whom Wenger has made him to start with a more defensive role so that when he takes his actual role of attacking midfieder Arsenal will be having the ability to defend from the front which will again confuse teams (tried to correct spellings)

  • Ron

    i want M’villa.
    i feel where we’ve missed out is by not adding a player here and there to what we’ve already got.
    We can quote names of our lads and say they are they best or they’re gonna be. Fact is that not of all these grow into MEN.
    Example, Theo! im a fan but i’d give anything to talk to him and say ”get across the front of a defender rather than checking out henry style”. I think hes avoiding the crunch, hiding!
    The OX, i do not feel that same need to speak to him, he is already a man, a GEEZ!
    Adams was, paddy was, keown was… all these players were men and would stand when it got tough. Theo is a nice boy and is starting to realise how good he could be but it is learned rather than natural
    17 million for M’villa looks a steal when you are buying in that sort of character…
    I dont know him of course but i dont know adams keane shearer paddy souness or keown… these types are rare..
    Get him..

  • Man Ejii, Nigeria

    Wenger pls try your possible best to secure this guy’s signature. He’s good we need him.