Marash Kumbulla: Overhyped or under priced?

Marash Kumbulla is a man that’s been linked with a host of clubs over the last few months with Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham the latest mentioned. Here, we look into the career of Kumbulla to question whether he actually justifies the rumours. If so, his price of £1.01 could well be a steal.

Who is Marash Kumbulla?

Kumbulla was born and raised near Lake Garda, Italy but declared his intention to represent Albania at international level from an early age. The reason? His parents, who both hail from across the Adriatic Sea. Where football is concerned, he came through the youth system with Hellas Verona. On the senior front, he made his debut in the Coppa Italia in December 2018 and followed that up with a cameo appearance in Serie B a couple of weeks later. He didn’t feature for the remainder of the campaign though.

After Verona won promotion to Serie A, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Kumbulla has hardly had a look in. You’d be way off the money though. The 21 year old centre back has instead become one of the first names on the team sheet for Ivan Juric’s side with 18 league appearances under his belt. His impressive displays early in the season even saw him earn a first full international cap. His debut coming as a late sub in Albania’s 4-0 win over Moldova.

What sort of centre half is he?

Kumbulla is still very inexperienced, particularly for a centre back but his main strengths are his positioning and how well he reads the game. Two skills you associate with a more mature head. He regularly looks to step forward to intercept on the attacker’s toe, which allows for a quick transition into attack but he knows when to drop a yard to jockey too. His style of defending rarely sees him beaten in a one on one situation and it’s not very often you’ll see him making last ditch tackles.

That’s not all Kumbulla brings to the team though. He enjoys the physical battle that being a centre back brings and he’s strong in both boxes. Of course, the modern game demands that defenders can play too. Kumbulla ticks that box even if you won’t see him splitting teams open.

Will he move on from Verona?

The short answer is yes, he’s one of Serie A’s brightest talents. It looks like he might move on soon too. Inter Milan are rumoured to have tabled a £17m bid already. It’s unlikely they’ll be the only side to make a formal approach though with English sides Everton, Chelsea and Tottenham all having the youngster on their list of potential targets. His price of £1.01 will increase with any move to a bigger side, especially if he establishes himself in the starting XI early on.

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