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The Crazy Summer of Yann M’Vila – The Truth Behind The ‘Come And Get Me Plea’

Yann M’Vila is just about the best central midfielder to feature in a Sunderland shirt since promotion to the Premier League ten years ago. With a successful loan spell under his belt and an option for Sunderland to sign him permanently, he’s been training with the Rubin Kazan ‘B’ team and telling followers on social media that he wants to come back to us. Won’t someone just go get him?

Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

There have been suggestions that Sunderland made an initial approach to Rubin Kazan to sign Yann M’Vila permanently on a four year deal, but this was several weeks ago now.

The Instagram message from his ‘official’ account earlier last week, said he wanted to come back - "I want Sunderland not other club but the choice is of Sunderland".  In the crazy world of social media, Yann’s Instagram message is the modern day equivalent of the traditional ‘come and get me plea’ and reminiscent of transfer tittle-tattle of yore.

The current managerial turmoil at Sunderland created by our overlords at the FA has, as you know, created something of a transfer window vacuum. Now that the situation is resolved, M’Vila is being touted as David Moyes’ and Sunderland’s first signing of the summer.

It has not been a quiet summer over at Rubin Kazan HQ either. New coach Javier Gracia, formerly of Malaga and veteran of stints in the Spanish Segunda Division and several years in Greece, is rebuilding – as new coaches tend to do. Those players he either doesn’t fancy, or who don’t fancy him or Kazan, have been herded into a ‘reject’ pen to train separately and reflect on their future.

In this pen we have our Yann. But the inhabitants of the ‘reject pen’ are rebelling. They’ve basically just been told to sort themselves out and keep fit, but they’re not happy. Partly, that’s because they’ve been threatened with being shunted into Rubin Kazan’s feeder team, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. The players are training on artificial turf and are unhappy with the increased risk of injury or trauma as a result of spending all day on it.

The same group of players have already penned a letter of complaint to the Kazan hierarchy about their treatment – being made to train alone and not being included in the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria. Both Yann M’Vila and his French counterpart Chris Mavinga were not party to the letter. Instead they supposedly wangled a novel way to get out of the crap training situation by gaining permission from the club to return home to France in order to sort out an extension to their work visa. Reports indicate that, once there, they have been in no hurry to get back to Russia.

Most Russian Premier League clubs are commencing a period of budget cutting and whilst Rubin Kazan are expected to continue to invest significantly in their squad to bolster their mission of making Champions League qualification, reductions to the wage bill are high on the agenda. With Yann M’Vila being one of the higher earners at the club, his removal will be particularly appealing.

In a career littered with fall outs with coaches, public rows with partners and an axe incident of some description, there have been rumours which have followed him from France to Russia with the occasional tittle tattle still flaring up. But, those who have met Yann M’Vila describe him as a peaceful, respectful sort. He was good friends with fellow Frenchman Younes Kaboul during his time at Sunderland and by all accounts he concentrated on family and football during his time in the North East.

M’Vila’s social media ‘come and get me plea’ is then, one borne of frustration and likely a growing terror he will made to turn out for the feeder club in Russia’s second division to see out the remainder of his contract. Some have suggested that should Kazan hold out for the threatened recoup of some of the transfer fee they originally paid for him from Rennes, Sunderland might go back for him in January, once his contract expires. But, do we really want to see him rotting in the Russian Second Division until then? Bring him home.

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