Gifolution: France's Mighty Mouse, Mattieu Valbuena
Standing all of 5’5″ and with a nose that looks like he spent a career as a professional boxer, Valbuena makes for a fascinating footballer. He’s been rumored to be headed to England for half a decade, but none of the Premier League teams ever pulled the trigger on a deal.
The radars for the last five years of his career are a fascinating set of questions, more than answers. What does he do well? Pass the ball, and set up teammates to score. Maybe with a bit of dribbling mixed in for good measure. Beyond that? Meh.
The other off thing is how much these seasons change. How was he used in 09-11 compared to 11-14? The last three years, his key pass numbers have been great, but the assist tallies haven’t always followed suit. Is this the result of crappy striking talent around him? Do most of his key passes result from crosses? Is his work rate slowing down now that he’s nearing 30, or does it just look different because of tactical changes?
Valbuena is a fascinating player, and certainly one that you’d spend a lot of time watching to try and answer all the questions his stats leave behind.