Youssouf Mulumbu: The Midfield Powerhouse To Strengthen Wenger's Lightweight Side

Former Baggie of the Year, Mulumbu has been linked with several top clubs and if Arsenal want to avenge their City battering, they need to sign him...
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Former Baggie of the Year, Mulumbu has been linked with several top clubs and if Arsenal want to avenge their City battering, they need to sign him...

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The Daily Mirror last week reported that Arsenal are weighing up an offer for Baggies midfield titan Mulumbu, here's a West Brom fan on the tireless powerhouse...

Youssouf Mulumbu never stops. He’s a constant machine, prowling the midfield in search of any potential trouble. Putting out fires, shielding the defence, calf-biting opposition forwards, bursting into the box for goals; these are Mulumbu’s leading traits. And it is these qualities that have made the man from DR Congo such a meaningful part of the team since his arrival back in 2009.

Born in Zaire (now DR Congo), he spent his childhood in France’s capital, Paris. Having found he was really rather good with a ball at his feet, he was picked up by Paris Saint-Germain and learnt the bulk of his footballing education with the club’s youth system. Mulumbu worked his way up the ranks – with occasional forays into first team – before the West Brom scouts deemed it necessary to contact the midfielder regarding a trial. In short, he impressed in the trial, was signed up on loan and then signed permanently in the summer for a mere £175,000. Yes, you read that correctly. He’d arrived in England with absolutely no reputation and as Albion fans started to try and crack the pronunciation of his surname, there was an air of intrigue about this little-known prospect.

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As things go, Mulumbu has more than repaid the money the club handed over for his services four years ago. Undoubtedly, if Mulumbu was to leave now we would make an incredible amount of profit. Not that he is planning on going anywhere, of course. He’s been an instrumental figure in the heart of the Albion midfield, quickly becoming a fans favourite shortly after his arrival. The popular chant from the terraces “He comes from Africa, he’s better than Kaka!” speak volumes about his development in blue and white stripes. I can remember in his first season he showed glimpses of inspiration but his touch and upper body strength was lacking. Happy to impose himself on proceedings, Mulumbu soon realised the unforgiving and sometimes brutal nature of the English game and adapted as a result. He has grown and grown into a more athletic, dynamic, all-rounded individual and every aspect of his game has improved whilst at Albion.

Named West Brom’s Player of the Year by both club and fans at the end of the 2010-2011 season, this is when it really became clear just how important it is we hold onto Mulumbu with inevitable interest from other clubs brimming. Fortunately, he is tied up on a long-term deal and insists in interviews to the media that he’s enjoying his football in the West Midlands and intends on staying put. That is music to Albion supporters’ ears. His understanding with Claudio Yacob as a double-pivot in midfield continues to flourish and last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal was a prime example of the sheer effectiveness of the combination. The duo are excellent at sniffing out danger, breaking up attacks, playing it simple. You players in your team to do the dirty work, they’re just as integral as the strikers or goalkeeper.

Through his own hard graft and dedication, 26-year-old Youssouf Mulumbu has worked his way up to the top and, inevitably, a lot of the big Premier League clubs are looking to swoop in January. Tremendously consistent, charismatic and a genuinely nice guy – Kaka’s superior deserves enormous credit for his progression since the days of playing on loan in France. I bet PSG are still kicking themselves about letting him go. West Brom will be too if Liverpool, or any other title-chasing teams manage to tempt him away from The Hawthorns.

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