In their never ending search for an imposing defensive midfielder, Arsenal might look to a player who was a big part of the QPR relegation last season, the often criticized Stéphane Mbia.
The 27 year-old, who made a name for himself during his three-year stay for Marseille, positioning himself as one of the best midfielders in Ligue 1. The Cameroonian international was signed for Marseille in a deal that saw Joey Barton go to the South of France failed to impress in a very disappointing season for QPR.
But it hasn’t hurt his stock one bit. Most of the foreign players on the QPR side from last season are regarded as money grabbing and lazy, who simply didn’t really give it anywhere near their all in order to stop the team from getting relegated. Mbia, usually known for his tenacity in the midfield, was just at fault for that apathy.
QPR paid £5.3 million for the player, but there’s a good chance Arsenal, looking for a real defensive midfielder after either constant disappointment (Denilson), constant injuries (Diaby) or simply playing out of position (Mikel Arteta) will get him for less, as he’s one of the top earners on QPR, trying to take a big load of their wage bill.
Mbia himself would love to stay in England, and especially the Premier League, trying to push his way out of QPR, not too enthusiastic about a season (or more) in the Championship. His ability to play both in the defensive line and in the midfield is getting him attention from more teams as well, but obviously, Arsenal are in the lead at the moment.
If Mbia does join Arsenal, it’ll be interesting to see how he and Thomas Vermaelen get along. Mbia as dismissed in the 79th minute for violent conduct after kicking Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen in retaliation to a strong challenge that had left Mbia floored. He wa suspended for three matches.