Who is Papy Djilobodji? A quick guide to Chelsea’s new signing

Chelsea have confirmed the arrival of Nantes defender Papy Djilobodji. Here’s a quick guide to the Senegalese centre-back.

Early days
He began his playing career in his homeland in 2007, with ASC Saloum, before moving to Europe. He had trials with Lazio, Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova and Lille, before eventually signing for French fourth-tier club Senart-Moissy in 2009. Such was his success, within a few months he was sold to Nantes, then in Ligue 2.

He initially played in central midfield before establishing himself as one of the division’s top centre-backs. In 2012-13 he helped Nantes to promotion to Ligue 1 and at the end of that season was rewarded with his first call-up to the Senegal squad.

By the time Chelsea came calling, he had played 171 league games for Nantes. Although he has never experienced European football, he has played against the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavani and his new Chelsea team-mate Radamel Falcao while playing in France.

International career
After making his debut for Senegal against Zambia in August 2013, he also played in a couple of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup. One of those was against Ivory Coast, where he marked Didier Drogba, and his team would have kept a clean sheet but for Saloman Kalou’s 94th minute equaliser.

He was selected for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, playing against Algeria and Ghana, but Senegal failed to make it out of the group stages.

Who is Papy Djilobodji?

Born: December 1, 1988 (age 26) in Kaolack, Senegal
Height: 6′ 4″ (1.93m)
Position: Centre-back, can also play as a holding midfielder
Previous clubs: 2007-09 ASC Saloum (Sen), 2009 Senart-Moissy (Fra), 2009-2015 Nantes (Fra)
National team: Senegal, 12 caps
International debut: August 2013, 1-1 v Zambia
Trivia: His full name is El Hadji Djilobodji Mison. He was booked 11 times in 31 league appearances last season. Despite this, statistics website WhoScored.com rated him as Nantes’ best performer. His contract at Nantes was due to expire in 2016.