Exclusive: Yann M'Vila on advising Arsenal's William Saliba, joining Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia and why Sunderland's relegation was no coincidence after he left

Yann M'VilaGetty
  • M'Vila a free agent
  • Left Olympiacos
  • Discusses experience and future plans

WHAT HAPPENED? M'Vila spoke candidly to GOAL about how he has tried to use his experience to help others, including current Arsenal star William Saliba during his time at Saint-Etienne. He also discussed his next move after leaving Olympiacos in Greece and reflected on his exit from Sunderland, among other clubs, as he suggested that he has been an under-appreciated presence.

WHAT THEY SAID: "With the experience I had, when I arrived at Saint-Etienne, players like William Saliba did not hesitate to ask me for advice, but not in relation to what they should do in their lives but in relation to my experience," M'Vila said. "I am not a leader who will shout in the locker room but I am a technical leader."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: M'Vila's future is now up in the air after he left Olympiacos at the end of his contract in Greece. A move to Saudi Arabia is one touted possibility. Discussing a possible move to join the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Middle East, the Frenchman added: "I am approached by certain clubs in the Gulf, I have no particular preference. I said that I wanted a challenge but there is also one in these countries, we see it with Cristiano Ronaldo or other players like Talisca or Vincent Aboubakar. I am open and attentive to each proposal."

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AND WHAT'S MORE: The 32-year-old also reflected on his time in England, where he played for Sunderland on loan during the 2015-16 season, saying he wasn't surprised the club was relegated from the Premier League a year later. "If out of 140 games, I play 120 starting games and the others were to rest, it means that I am important. If you do not understand you do not know football.

"Same in Manchester City games, when Kyle Walker goes into the centre line to create a surplus, people don't see it, you have to look in depth at those who do the work behind the scenes. I know that I do this job and that's why the coaches make me play. That's also why I know I'm important. When I left Sunderland they went down. When I left Saint-Etienne, they came down. When I left the Rubin Kazan, they came down. I don't see it as a coincidence."


Yann M'Vila n'écarte pas un retour en France et se décidera en fonction du challenge proposé.Julian Finney/Getty Images

Yann M'Vila InterGetty ImagesYann M'Vila Sunderland Premier LeagueGetty Images

WHAT NEXT? M'Vila will be on the move again this summer after spending just under three years in Greece. It remains to be seen where he will end up, but he is clearly still motivated to make a difference at a high level.

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