While this is not a huge surprise, until it was officially announced there was always that fear in the back of my head that he would go back to Milan, only to get splinters in his butt from riding the pine. This a great move for all the parties involved:
- For Gourcuff - He has obviously discovered himself coming back to France as well as playing for one of the games strong young managers - Laurent Blanc. A few season back when the midfielder moved to Milan, it was under the umbrella that he was the new French star, the next Zidane. However instead of shining at the San Siro he quickly found him self far down the pecking order. The loan move back to France was the breath of fresh air the young player needed and he has taken the opportunity and made the most of it. The permanent move will serve him well for both club and country since there will be no distractions around his going back to Milan (if the loan was extended) or being back in Milan in a system where I doubt he would have the free reign he has at Bordeaux.
- For Bordeaux - The fact Les Girodins are on the verge of capturing the French title is due in large part to the play of Gourcuff. Having him signed for 4 years will ensure that at least next season they can continue to count on this level of play. I also think that keeping this important cog will benefit the club in Europe. They had a less than stellar Champions League campaign, and while I do not expect them to win the trophy with big ears, I think they can expect to this time get out of the group stages. The ability to keep the core of the squad intact will go a long way towards that goal. Also, I am sure that if France make the World Cup and if Gourcuff has a good tournament, that Bordeaux will have many options to resell the player to a bigger club in 2010/2011 and more than make up for their transfer fee of 15m Euros.
- For Milan - I just do not see where the player would have fit back in Milan. While the club itself is going some overhaul, no one is sure of who the manager will be or what players will be available. On the surface the best place on the pitch for Gourcuff is the player slotted in the hole behind the strikers, somewhere Kaka also excels in...and while I might be a slight French homer even I know that Gourcuff is good but not one of the world's top 3 players. So would he slot wider? Maybe but that is not his strength. Deeper? Seedorf is deeper and again not really his strength. So Milan gets some return on their investment, and let us face it, if Gourcuff has a monster World Cup and if the new manager wants to change the system, Milan is not short of cash to reacquire the young Frenchman.
- For Les Bleus - Clearly the success of Les Bleus will depend on how well Gourcuff and Ribery control the midfield offensively. The fact he will spend another season in France, under Blanc with stability, will be beneficial for Les Bleus. Now we all know that Domenech cannot be trusted so France might not even qualify for South Africa, but let us hope that if that does not happen it is because Domenech cannot manage his way out of a paper bag and not because Gourcuff does not play well.
All little video of his talent...the first few scenes of him pulling off the "roulette" reminds one of another player that also played at Bordeaux.