Etienne Capoue: A French Fan On What Arsenal & Spurs Would've Got For £15m
The youngster, aged 24, is one of the most consistent midfielders in the French league, missing less than 20 games for his team since his debut in 2008. Born in 1988 in western France, he grew up in an environment devoted to the football due to his father being a semi-pro coach and his older brother a respectable professional player, mostly for Nantes. Aged 17, he joined the Toulouse youth program within which he worked his way up through the different youth teams both under his club’s purple shirt and the national blue jersey. Indeed, between 2005 and 2008, he successively played for the national U17 and U19 before making his debut with the U21 side. In the meantime, he made his first appearances with Toulouse’s professional team at the end of the 2007-2008 season.
His abilities as a holding midfielder didn't take long to catch the attention of many observers’. His size (6’2”) and his strength give him the makings of a brilliant ball winner as well as a astute player in the air. Another quality worth pointing out is his long pass accuracy. A key feature of his game is long diagonal balls he can play towards the wings with pinpoint accuracy. Thus, from a deep midfield role, Capoue can provide both defensive solidity and use the space available in his area to launch deadly counter attacks.
Former team mate André-Pierre Gignac has spoken glowing of Capoue, calling him a sprawling midfielder who can puts his athletic build to good use while at the same time possessing the technical ability to relieve his defense and deliver clean ball to his more attacking team mates.
His progression since his debut as a professional football player in five years has been staggering. In 2009, he was named captain of the French U21 side. In 2010, he was voted as the best possible replacement for Yaya Toure by Barcelona's socios following the big Ivorian's move to Manchester City. Facing a tough competition from Yann M’Vila, Blasé Matuidi as well as his team mate Moussa Sissoko for a place in the national eleven, he had to wait until the summer of 2012 to be called up for the first time, under new manager Deschamps. To date he earned 4 caps and scored one goal (against Belarus last September).
In a nutshell, Capoue is further proof of the rude health Toulouse's youth system. Sadly for the flagship team, three of their best players are currently on the verge of leaving the club with Etienne Capoue, Cheick M’Bengue and Moussa Sissoko also rumored to arrive on English shores soon.