This winter transfer market was relatively quiet all over Europe. With Financial Fair Play around the corner, most clubs are on shoestring budgets and we only witnessed a few small but nonetheless clever deals completed during January. West Ham United target Nicolas Isimat-Mirin would've certainly slotted into that category.
27 starts including a few high flying performances with a very pleasing club. These are the most notable facts about the young Isimat-Mirin. Aged 21, with two full seasons in the top flight behind him, Nicolas is now attractive to a lot of ambitious teams amongst which Newcastle seem to have the edge.
Obviously, looking at his CV, Isimat-Mirin would only be another obscure Ligue 1 name to most Premier League fans. He grew up at the national training centre in Clairefontaine, which he joined aged 13. Three years later he joined one of the most successful youth scheme in Rennes where he carried on his learning process. After two years there, he signed for Valenciennes and rapidly gained the coach confidence. After a few games with the reserves, he joined the professional group for the final stages of the 2009-2010 season.
A few months later, he was given his Ligue 1 debut, being picked as a starter for a home game against Brest. Shortly behind, he signed his first professional contract, a three years deal soon extended with an additional year.
Two seasons and 62 league games later, he cannot hide himself anymore. Many scouts are touring France all year long and surely most of them penned his name down in their notepad. The rock has proven he can use his physical assets (1.88m and 83kg) to a good extend on the pitch. His form matches his club’s performances during this time. From bottom of the league strugglers to European spot contestants, Valenciennes and its new stadium are definitely on the upward curve. Their first half of season was more than decent, even sometimes simply brilliant (4-1 and 6-1 home wins against Marseille and Lorient in October).
Isimat-Mirin made himself feel essential in the Valenciennes defense, so much that he did not miss a single minute of action during the first half of the current season. In this period, he made himself feel essential in the Valenciennes defense, so much that he did not miss a single minute of action during the first half of the current season. His solid performances caught the eye of many; Liverpool and Newcastle United are being quoted consistently as well as Paris Saint-Germain. The French U21 international is coveted by the new Ligue 1 giant as part of a deal to be sealed now and which would see the youngster stay 6 more months in the north of France on loan.
This oil rich deal could be of interest but would condemn him to a bench sitting position for most of the games which would not be ideal in order to develop his international desires. What West Ham United are offering is surely less interesting from an accountant point of view but much more exciting for football.
Valued in the area of €5m (£4m), Isimat-Mirin’s fee shouldn’t be an obstacle for either of these two teams. In difficult financial times you have to take safe bets. He is not going to be the world’s best defender but he will surely reinforce any defence without leaving the financial balance of the buying club in tatters. If a club does lure him away this month, it would be one of the cleverest purchases of the winter market.