Today, Eredivisie league leaders PSV announced the loan signing of French defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin to strengthened their defensive options and give the young Frenchman the perfect opportunity to get some experience. What is the 22-year-old going to bring to PSV? French Football expert Andrew Davidson explains.
A Parisian native, born in Meudon in the capitals’ suburbs, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin is a graduate of the famed Clairefontaine academy and has been a rising star in French football for a couple of years now, although that star has been dimmed over the past year or so.
The 22 year old centre-back has struggled to break into the Monaco team since his move there last year; however he attracted much attention in his stand-out year at Valenciennes two seasons ago. A strong, agile player with a tremendous physique, he was excellent for the club, providing a solid platform at the back which helped take the team to 3rd in Ligue 1 at the halfway stage.
A drop in form for the team as a whole led to an 11th place finish, but Isimat-Mirin’s performances drew high praise. Rumours of interest from Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool came to nothing, and it was eventually big-spending Monaco who grabbed the youngster’s signature.
At the time Monaco, freshly stacked with billionaire cash and a Ligue 2 title, were on a charm offensive as the other clubs faced a vote over taxation issues to keep them in the league. It was widely reported that the principality club were snapping up young prospects, for fair prices, to garner favour with their rivals.
Whatever the reasons behind the move, nobody who saw the Haitain descendants’ performances could argue – he belonged at a club where he could realise his potential. Making just 6 appearances hasn’t dimmed the hope that he can become a bright prospect for club and country in the future.
A loan move to PSV will give Isimat-Mirin (simply ‘Isimat’ on his shirt) exactly what he needs – regular game time in a competitive league, however he has the central pairing of Karim Rekik and Jeffrey Bruma ahead of him. He can only mature in the challenge of playing abroad for the first time, and will relish the chance. Meanwhile, PSV fans can look forward to his dynamic play from the back.
Explosive off the mark, he is quick for a big man, and particularly adept at running down and cutting out wide moves and through balls. He is strong in the air too, and uses his height and strength well. And the bonus – he’s excellent with his feet, able to take the ball forward and pick a pass. He has that air of confidence and composure so rarely found in younger centre-backs at the top level at the moment, and this, no doubt, is what has impressed PSV coach Philip Cocu.
The player has been capped at Under-20 and Under-21 level for France and will hope that, as he approaches his 23rd birthday in November, he will begin to hit the form that can catapult him into the full squad. Compared with Mamadou Sakho during his time in France, Isimat-Mirin would certainly like to join him in the heart of the defence when the European Championships come to France in 2016.
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