Europe’s elite will be watching Kondogbia in Monaco v Juve match-up
Since finding wealth once again, Monaco (12/5 to beat Juventus in 90 minutes and qualify for the Champions League semis with Coral) have struggled to keep hold of their prize assets.
Last summer, the Principality outfit lost Colombia’s World Cup star James Rodriguez and the man who was supposed to excel in attack, Radamel Falcao, whose dream of playing at the Brazil finals was ended by injury.
Now, it’s the turn of twice-capped France international defensive midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, 22, to have some of Europe’s elite reportedly after his signature. Rumours in the French press claim Premier League pair Arsenal and Liverpool are after him.
It’s not just Gunners and Anfield scouts running the rule over Kondogbia, though. La Liga duo Atletico Madrid, who are simultaneously in action in yet another derby at the Bernabeu, and Valencia are also entering the race.
A good anchorman is well worth investing in, as Chelsea have shown during the last decade or so, with first Claude Makelele and now Nemanja Matic. It’s the former who makes for a more salient comparison with Kondogbia, as magnificent Makelele also played for Les Bleus.
Midfield powerhouses are something of a French forte. Arsenal had Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit played for both the Gunners and at Stamford Bridge, and Didier Deschamps also spent a season with the Blues.
It is a little early to mention Kondogbia in the same breath as any of these greats from the last generation, but the effective midfield shield he provides also becomes a platform that Monaco also use to spring counter-attacks.
Punters that witnessed Leonardo Jardim’s team pulling off a famous away win at Arsenal in the last round of Europe’s elite club competition will have seen all this first-hand. It was a similar set-up in Turin; Monaco gave the Italian champions no respect and ran at them with every opportunity, though without beating Azzurri and Juve legend Gianluigi Buffon.
Andrea Pirlo may be the main midfield attraction at Stade Louis II, where the Old Lady are 13/10 favourites to win in 90 minutes, but Kondogbia (a 6/1 anytime scorer shout) is definitely one to watch.