N’Zogbia, 26, who has been capped by the French national team on two occasions, frustrated the Aston Villa faithful with a string of lacklustre and disinterested performances last season. As a result, N’Zogbia only scored two goals and created four assists in the whole of the 2011/12 campaign. N’Zogbia told The Sun, “I definitely need to be getting a few more goals and getting a few more assists. That would be good and to be happy playing for Aston Villa.”
Villa boss Paul Lambert experimented playing N’Zogbia in the hole behind the strikers in their 1-0 defeat to West Ham last Saturday, seemingly in an attempt to ignite the Frenchman’s career at the West Midlands club.
The “Zog” (as he is affectionately known) has often been regarded as one of the more controversial figures in the Barclays Premier League. Newcastle United signed N’Zogbia, just aged 18 from French Ligue 2 side Le Havre. Resultantly, Newcastle had to pay Le Havre £250,000 to cover the cost of youth development as the French side threatened to take Newcastle to the court of arbitration of sport. Despite this, N’Zogbia burst onto the scene and made himself a hot property for the Premier League elite.
Then in January 2009, N’Zogbia announced his intention to leave Newcastle after an altercation with the then Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear who “mispronounced” his name as “insomnia” in a post-match interview.
Subsequently, N’Zogbia left Newcastle to join Wigan Athletic for a fee of around £6 million. It was arguably at the DW Stadium where N’Zogbia enjoyed his happiest and most successful spell of his professional career. At times the winger displayed flashes of brilliance and his ability to accelerate very quickly left Premier League defences often chasing shadows.
This prompted Alex McLeish to splash £9.5 million on the Frenchman in July 2011. However, since arriving at Villa Park, N’Zogbia has too often cut a consulate figure on the left-hand side. With the fans starting to lose patience with the talented midfielder, it is time N’Zogbia recaptured the form that made him so popular with the Newcastle and Wigan supporters, starting at home to Everton on Saturday. If not, then Paul Lambert may look to cash in on the French winger with only nine days of the transfer window remaining and N’Zogbia could well be added to the list of Premier League expensive flops.