Steven N'Zonzi faces new challenge with Roma in Serie A
Rumoured to be joining Arsenal this summer, Steven N'Zonzi has gone against the paper talk, recently completing a move from Sevilla to Italian side AS Roma. The speculation is now over with, as the Frenchman begins to settle into life with his new surroundings.
Starting his professional career with Amiens in France, N'Zonzi gained attention being dubbed the next "Patrick Vieira". Blackburn were keen to sign him, acquiring his services back in 2009. He built a reputation as a quality player, but one with a bad temperament. In 2012, he joined Stoke City and continued to put in solid performances in a defensive midfield role. He also carried on picking up offences. In 120 games played with the Potters, he picked up 18 yellow cards and two reds.
The same can be said during time at Sevilla. In 136 games played, the 29-year-old has been booked 19 times and sent off on three occasions. But despite his eagerness to win possession, N'Zonzi has always been a key player whichever club he has been at. Mostly noted for his defensive attributes, the Frenchman is an underrated passer of the football, allowing him to get his team on the front foot, too...
N'Zonzi joins Roma for a fee of just under £24million. An extremely good deal in Sevilla's eyes from a financial standpoint, as they purchased him from Stoke for just over £7million three years ago. But now he is keen to help AS Roma better their third-place finish from last term. I Giallorossi have won the Serie A title on three occasions, with the most recent back in 2000-01. A time where Gabriel Batistuta bagged 20 league goals for La Lupa.
Standing at 6'5 tall, the World Cup winner will be in good spirits after his contributions towards his nation lifting the most prized trophy in football. The media will have exposed N'Zonzi's playing time which certainly impressed the eye of Eusebio De Francesco. The Roma boss believes he is the perfect addition to his hungry squad. Weirdly enough, De Francesco was part of the side that won the 2000-01 title. The former midfielder would most likely give a few words of wisdom towards N'Zonzi's welcoming party. As he looks to take his game to the next level.
The height that the former Sevilla midfielder possesses can be used to his advantage. He can win aerial duels to knock the ball forward, while being an adequate threat in both penalty boxes. He has a keen eye to pick out players and make the creative passes forward, an underrated aspect of his game. Layoffs are also an addition to his style while short passes are most likely to be seen. It may sound odd, but N'Zonzi doesn't like to dive into tackles. We have mentioned before, he can see red due to his aggression, but that's just the nature of his game.
There is some real competition at Roma as to who could possibly be the main defensive midfielder. Kevin Strootman and Maxime Gonalons will be opting for the position, while captain Daniele De Rossi is most likely to hold his spot. With the quality in numbers, we may see N'Zonzi in the more advanced central midfield role. Rather than sweeping up the mess deep in the field he would be seen more as a build-up player and a playmaker.
From what many fans have seen in England, France or Spain, N'Zonzi has matured year-on-year. His move to Roma will be seen as a new test which could end up to be rather rewarding, particularly as the Italian giants have done some excellent work over the summer; adding both Justin Kluivert and Javier Pastore.
Even though Radja Nainngolan and Alisson departed, there is an anticipation from these set of players. And N'Zonzi could be one man to make difference aplenty. We can only wait and see what he can produce in Italy.
Buona Fortuna, Steven N'Zonzi!