Papy Djilobodji
Papy Djilobodji

After Chelsea completed the signing of Papy Djilobodji from Nantes yesterday most of you were probably left scratching your head to who is he?

What type of player is he?

Djilobodji has played in defensive midfield for Nantes previously, but is more at home in central defence.

At 6ft 4in, the Senegal player is a powerful but pacey left-footer and his stats from last season demonstrate his combative approach to the game.

Djilobodji ranked fourth in Ligue 1 for clearances in 2014/15 (8.3 per game) and in the top 10 for interceptions (3.3 per game). Only 16 players won more aerial duels per game than his 3.1 in contrast, Chelsea’s top players in this category last season were Gary Cahill with 3.3, followed by John Terry with 2.6.

The 26-year-old was also the top Nantes player in 2014/15, according to’s statistical rankings, demonstrating his consistency across his 30 starts for the club.

Nantes may have finished 14th in Ligue 1 last season as they continued to establish themselves in France’s top flight following their promotion from Ligue 2 in 2012/13 but they recorded the fifth-best defensive record. Djilobodji played a key role, with the team conceding just 40 times in 38 games.

What’s his history?

Djilobodji was born in Kaolack, Senegal in 1988 and, after emerging through the youth ranks at local club ASC Saloum, made the decision at 19 years old to pursue a career in football in Europe.

Unsuccessful trials at Lille and Lazio didn’t deter Djilobodji and he eventually landed a place with French fourth-division side US Sénart-Moissy in 2009.

By 2010 the defender had been snapped up by Ligue 2 Nantes, where he went on to make over 160 appearances, helping them to promotion to the top flight in 2012/13.

International duty

Djilobodji made his international debut in 2013 and last January was called up for the Africa Cup of Nations.

It was a disappointing tournament for both player and country, though, with Djilobodji unable to prevent Senegal crashing out at the group stage after taking four points from their three games.

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