While the current Toulouse and French international midfielder Etienne Capoue has been one of the most coveted midfielders across Europe, it seems the combination of Franco Baldini and Andre Villas-Boas have added yet another acquisition to the Spurs squad, according to reports.
The 25-year old midfielder was reportedly close to a move to new Premier League side, Cardiff City. But, according to Toulouse president Olivier Sadran and French radio station RMC Sport, Sadran was quoted, “He will go”, when asked if a possible move to Spurs was on the cards.
Spurs are already very well stocked in terms of midfield presence with Sandro, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele, Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson among the names. It seems that Andre Villas-Boas is looking to build his own squad, with Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore and Scott Parker potentially leaving the club before the end of the transfer window.
So, what will Etienne Capoue bring to a very strong Spurs midfield?
To begin, Capoue is fundamentally seen as a defensive midfielder, while also being able to slot in at centre back – versatility is one of the main characteristics that Villas-Boas likes in a modern day player. Capoue’s versatility will help in the short term as Spurs have problems at centre backs with concerns over Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul’s fitness, with Jan Vertonghen also out injured.
It was widely acknowledged that when Sandro injured his knee in the 0-0 draw to QPR back in January, Spurs lost their steel in midfield when Scott Parker replaced the Brazilian in defensive midfield for the second part of the season.
Although, the Frenchman has been heavily coveted over the past few seasons due to his excellent performances just in front of the back four for Toulouse – he will be seen as back up to Sandro.
Standing at 6ft 2, Capoue is an imposing figure on the football pitch, but also has the capabilities of being able to read the game, averaging 2.6 interceptions per Ligue 1 game last season – a total of 87 interceptions, the same amount of interceptions as Sandro and bettered Parker’s interceptions by 37. Capoue made 2.4 tackles per game, 81 in total – compared to Sandro’s 72 total tackles and Scott Parker’s 52.
One element to look at is the amount of games the trio played; Capoue made a total of 34 Ligue 1 appearances; Sandro made 22 appearances and Scott Parker made 15 appearances.
The imposing figure is overlooked at times, as Capoue is capable of scoring goals, creating assists and dictating play from the anchorman position.
According to WhoScored.com – Ettiene Capoue averaged 10 more passes per game than any other team-mate, at 63.9 passes per game – a passing accuracy of 80.8%, compared to Sandro’s passing accuracy of 84.6% and Parker’s 83.35% pass completion, although, again, the latter played less games which can be taken into account.
Also, since Capoue made his debut for Toulouse in the 2008/2009 season, no Ligue 1 side have conceded fewer goals than Toulouse in this period (160).
Capoue has added goals to his game, in the 2012/2013 season from defensive midfield – the Frenchman scored 7 goals and created 3 goals for his team-mates – Sandro scored one and assisted two, while Scott Parker assisted one and didn’t manage to net in his 15 Premier League games.
The 25 year old midfielder made his French debut in a friendly against Uraguay in August 2012, since then Capoue has been capped a further four times and scored his first international goal versus Belarus in a 3-1 win in September 2012.
Although he will face a battle for the defensive midfield position in Spurs first XI, this is a crucial time for Capoue’s professional career with the World Cup next year. But the 25 year old can add his influence to Premier League games, and more importantly games in the UEFA Europa League.