Name: André Biyogo Poko
Club: Girondins de Bordeaux
Position: Centre midfield
It what has been a fairly stagnant few years for Bordeaux in Ligue 1, they have largely failed to inspire. Other than a Coupe de France win last season, mid-table finishes, sales of key players and limited resources means that the future has rarely looked bright for the fans of Les Girondins. However, André Biyogo Poko has been someone who has provided the fans with some hope, after a thoroughly impressive start to his career in the south of France.
Born on New Year’s day, 1993 in Gabon, the 21 year old is exactly the sort of player than fans love to see pull on their team’s shirt, as he regularly puts in the effort that you’d want to see every single one of your team put in. Patrolling the centre of the park, he is not just your big, strong defensive midfielder that is a typical product of his native continent, shunning the Stephane Mbia/John Obi Mikel style role for a more personal stamp on his playing style. Standing at a relatively meagre 1.75m, he makes up for this in his truly boundless energy, covering ground up and down the pitch like a dog chasing a constantly-moving tennis ball.
Arguably in the Blaise Matuidi mould, shown by his desire to never give up when on defensive duty and willingness to join attacks as well, he offers something a bit different from he fairly uninspiring midfield counterpart Landry N’Guemo. Having already racked up 17 caps for Gabon in a team that has rapidly improved in recent years, Poko is already an integral cog in his national team despite his relatively young age, and Bordeaux will be hoping to avoid the exits of players like Poko if they are to build a base for the future, and also help by keeping their average age below approximately 32.
However, the fact that he’s sort of player that any club would love to have and the general trend of exiting players from Ligue 1 clubs outside of Paris and Monaco means he may not be around for much longer in the south of France. The rumours of a transfer are yet to start circulating on the websphere, but you can imagine his name being associated with a number of clubs in the not-too-distant future after another impressive season.
Whilst England talked about having a team of 11 Jamie Carraghers, it may not be too long before France Is talking about having a team of 11 Andre Biyogo Pokos…
By Sam Crocker (@sam_crock)