They call him 'the octopus'
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HIS EARLY YEARS
His early promise as a teenager in France didn't go unnoticed and it was a matter of time before the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus came knocking on his door.
He would later leave for the English Premier League, but under acrimonious circumstances.
His parent club released an official statement to criticise the conduct of the Premiership club, who in turn threatened to sue them.
Eventually, an agreement was reached. But his career in England never took off.
He felt that he wasn't getting the amount of game time he deserved, after making only three first-team appearances.
In the end, he decided that his future lies elsewhere and left the club after spending three years in the wilderness.
His next port of call? Italy, where he made an instant impact, and hasn't looked back since.
His agent's claim that he is "worth twice as much as Gareth Bale" may be exaggerated, but you can see where the confidence stems from.
It's clear why the player was described as the new Patrick Vieira.
Nicknamed "The Octopus", he belongs to the rare breed of powerful, tough, uncompromising midfielders with a silky edge to his game.
He has the whole repertoire, from crunching tackles to velvety touches to quicksilver movement.
With his long strides and fantastic engine, he is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the game at the moment, although he can also play just about any position in midfield.
"People compare us but, where I would win more tackles, he is more technically gifted than I ever was, and far more at ease on the ball." - Former France and Arsenal star Patrick Vieira on this player
For all his qualities, he has one major flaw - lapses in concentration.
It is also something which the player himself has admitted previously.
In March, his Serie A club coach blasted him for loss of focus in a match they won.
The coach said: "He is a player who can make the difference if he plays it simple and is focused.
"He got booked and let that affect him, so he lost his way in the second half and basically stopped playing."
He also went through a poor patch at the start of this season, although he has since bounced back to show just why he is one of the most sought-after players in the world today.
WHY HE'S FAMOUS
In the three years since he moved to Italy, he has won three Serie A titles and one Italian Cup, as well as reaching one Champions League final.
His only major tournament for Les Bleus came at the 2014 World Cup, where he put in several impressive performances to help them reach the last eight of the competition.
International debut: March 22, 2013 (v Georgia)
International games: 29
International goals: 5
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