Is that Robinson Cano? Oh, wait, it Stephane Sessegnon, signing autographs for fans more concerned with staring at the surrounding shrubbery than meeting the PSG midfielder. (via Wikimedia Commons, by psgmag.net)
(Today's episode of Player in My Pocket was written by Andrew Cieslak, known as Slaky around these parts, or SlakyFoot on Twitter, where you just might catch him leading another AvatarGate. Or possibly just getting grief from Plymouth Argyle fans for his newfound affection for Exeter City. I'm so proud)
Anglos and Americans generally seem to ignore Ligue One. As far as I can tell no one watches it, no one knows much about the players there and people are generally swayed by distaste for most things French. I quite like the French. At one point I tried teaching myself the language on a self-improvement bender. It didn't take but the thought was there, even if the effort wasn't. I have a soft spot for the French. So deal with that or I'll deal with you like I did Curly Jefferson.
Naturally with that introduction, the Player in My Pocket for this week is Stéphane Sessegnon. If you're unfamiliar with the Benin international attacking midfielder extraordinaire, I don't blame you. He's been toiling away in Ligue One, playing for the embattled club Paris St. Germain. Despite the club's history of hooliganism and racial tension within their own fan base, Sessegnon has turned me into a PSG fan. All fan bases have idiots right? PSG just happens to have a bunch of white supremacist idiots. C'est la vie.
Most of my football stories begin the same: I bought him in Football Manager. This story is no exception. When I managed Aston Villa in Football Manager one of the players I ended up purchasing was Sessegnon and he turned out to be brilliant. It was with that fictional transaction that he earned a place in my heart. Before I knew it I was searching the vast Google Waste Land for any information on the man I could find. If only I'd stuck with those damn French lessons...
The beauty of Sessegnon's game is evident immediately. His dribbling skills are world class and he can create a chance from nothing. He's the type of player that can dribble his way out of two or three defenders to find an open player. Occasionally, he'll fire a deadly missile on net without warning from either foot. All that aside, his versatility is his biggest weapon. Sessegnon can play on the right, left or down the middle. A playmaker is what he is and creating is his game.
So why is he riding the pine right now? It sounds to me like he's had his sights set on a move to England for a while now. It's possible he's acting like a diva. Does he simply need a Snickers? I think he's grown too big a fish for France's pond and is ready for the spotlight of the Premier League. He's only 26 years old and in the prime of his career so the time could not be more right. He's been drawing interest from Premier League clubs since way back in 2007. Newcastle and Arsenal were heavily linked to him before he ended up signing with his current club. Before the 2010-11 season, Chelsea, Everton and of course those smurfin' bastards at Manchester City had contacted PSG to ask about his availability. Now, it seems as if the usual suspects are prepared to fight for his services in January. Note the absence of Aston Villa from that list. It's a shame that he's never really been linked with Villa, but you never know. With Houllier in charge, Villa is starting to become linked to a host of French players - why not Stéphane?
Regardless, it seems as though Sessegnon will be in England sooner than later. I would be hard pressed to continue rooting for him if he was wearing a Spurs shirt or a City shirt. I can picture him coming over to England and getting buried on one of the dysfunctional cash-happy clubs, which would make me unspeakably sad.
May your next stop be a fruitful one, Stéphane