Scouting Report: Rémy Cabella (Montpellier)

December 16, 2013 in Europe, Ligue 1 by Ballsy Banter

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In modern-era football, the playmaker has evolved into one of the most crucial positions on the field. Be it a deep-laying midfielder, or one of the three more advanced players behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1, almost all teams rely on a no. 10 to pull the strings in midfield and add some creativity to the side. Even more so, this classic no. 10 role has changed in recent times, with the offensive pressing game of Guardiola’s Barca becoming so popular. The advanced playmaker is required to be very versatile; mobility, determination, vision, passing range, attacking threat and defensive contribution are all very equally important aspects of this player’s game. In today’s game, the saying that ‘the forwards are the most important defenders’ carries a lot of weight.

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In recent times, big English clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked with Rémy Cabella, a young French midfielder who at the time of writing plays for Ligue 1 side Montpellier. Born in 1990, he is currently 23, and quite a few years from his peak. Very well-known for his excellent ball control and dribbling skills and a wide range of skills in his locker, he’s been likened to the great Zidane. He’s quick and versatile, having the ability to play behind the striker or on either flank, and tends to roam around the field to make himself available to receive the ball. On the ball, he has the vision and the ability to pick out a run from a teammate, or he can take on and beat one of the opposition’s players. What really sets him apart from the average advanced player is his defensive ability; he tends to track back and win the ball, and presses aggressively. Combine that with his capable tackling, he may yet even develop into a brilliant box-to-box midfielder.

The player has built on his successful 2012/2013 season - where he was the best player at Montpellier according to Squawka, and created a massive 58 chances - and has started the 2013/2014 season quite brilliantly. Six goals and three assists in 17 matches this season has a nice ring to it, especially if you add an average of 2.4 key passes per game. Defensively, he has really shone as well; 2.1 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game is testament to that, and is extraordinary if you consider the position he plays. Even two seasons ago, when Montpellier miraculously won Ligue 1, Cabella played a bit-part role, starting only 16 games; albeit with a higher WhoScored rating than ex-teammate Younes Belhanda.

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Cabella may not be a world-beater at the moment, but there seems to be a lot of potential. If the player makes a smart move, with only his best interests in mind, within the next six months, he may yet develop into one of the world’s most exciting players. Even now, he has the ability to get you off your seat when he has the ball at his feet. Cabella’s only big weakness is his strength, which affects his ability to challenge for possession in the air – something that can be worked on. One thing’s for sure though - Cabella is going places.

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