Having finished his fourth season at St-Etienne, Blaise Matuidi has set his sights on making the France squad for the 2012 European Championships in Poland & Ukraine. He has represented Les Bleus at U19 and U21 level and has managed three sporadic caps for the full national team as well.
Matuidi is torn about leaving St-Etienne in search of that “Big Move” that would land him in the Champions League , but worried about not being a regular starter that would make Laurent Blanc forget about him. Subsquently, he is also worried about going stale at Les Verts, but knows he is a “Big Fish in a small pool”. He’s been linked heavily with a move to Arsenal over the years, but speculation over the summer has linked him with Liverpool and more recently, Newcastle.
Matuidi is a graduate of Clarefontaine, and training and facilities played a big part in his move to Troyes from Creteil, where he was on a YTS Contract, he was even linked with a move to Charlton Athletic in this period.
Matuidi is by nature a deep lying midfielder, a little bit more explosive and rangy than a Claude Makelele but less destructive and imposing than a Yann M’Vila. Matuidi is also very good at doing the things that go un-noticed, organising set-pieces and keeping shape in a midfield. He is not prolific in the slightest – his record of three goals in 132 games for St-Etienne speaks volumes.
His finest asset is that he has an ability to anchor a midfield and make the players around him look better. No finer example than this season where Matuidi’s ability to sit unleashed wingers Bakary Sako and Dmitri Payet to the limelight whilst preserving veterans Loic Perrin and Laurent Battles.
Whatever Blaise does, he has been a fantastic servant to Les Verts and although his departure will leave a hole in the club, both as a person and player – no one would begrudge it.
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