The defensive minded midfielder had been touted as one of France’s finest young talents and at 25, his career had been stagnating.
However Yann M'Vila has now has found himself in the north east of England on a season-long loan at Sunderland and a golden opportunity to realise his potential as a very dangerous player.
M'Vila has had a strong start to life in England and has replicated the sort of form which has seen him catch the eye of Europe's top sides in the past while in his time at Rennes.
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His knowledge of the game has been exemplary and his vision has been a huge asset to a Sunderland midfield which has been devoid of creativity in their Premier League tenure. One thing Sunderland and perhaps M'Vila didn't expect was that he was capable of scoring free kicks of the quality that he did in his last appearance against Aston Villa.
One thing which has been largely questionable throughout his career has been his temperament. This has seen him banned from French national side in 2012 and more recently in his first Sunderland match for their under-21 side, he was sent off for a head butt against Norwich’s youth side.
You wouldn't blame Sunderland fans for fearing the worst. However his play on the pitch has displayed his true footballing qualities. He has an 87.5% pass success rate (according to whoscored.com) and his calming influence in the centre of Sunderland’s midfield has encouraged optimism for his and Sunderland’s Premier League future.
Not since the loan signing of Ki Sung-yueng have Sunderland had a such assured player with the ball at his feet. The arrival of the explosive Frenchman has bolstered Sunderland chances that they may not be in for yet another season of struggle, along with the arrivals of Jeremain Lens and Ola Toivonen; Sunderland’s midfield options look to be a lot more potent than they have in the past.
Sunderland haven’t had the greatest of starts this season, only picking up two points from a possible 12. Although M'Vila has been a bright spark in a questionable campaign for Sunderland there is still a lot of work to do for the Frenchman to get back to international level and prove the doubters wrong.
He has provided a very accomplished start to Premier League life which could see him fulfil his potential which has eluded him in the recent past.