Premier League • England

Arsenal and Aston Villa set for summer bidding war over Italian superstar targeted by Paris Saint-Germain

Ibrahima Bamba of Vitoria Guimaraes

Arsenal and Aston Villa are both interested in making a summer move for Vitoria Guimaraes defender Ibrahima Bamba, according to reports.

It was suggested last month that the player’s representatives had been negotiating a potential January move to the Gunners, but it failed to materialise.

Now, it looks like Unai Emery wants to swoop in for Bamba, who has performed impressively in Portugal this season, while Arsenal could also go back in for him.

This is according to CalcioMercatowho claim that both club’s are keeping a keen eye on Bamba and are seriously considering making offers, while Italian club Atalanta are also in the race.

Also, as reported by TEAMtalk, Paris Saint-Germain have been previously linked with a move for Bamba, so they could also go back in for him.

Bamba has made 26 appearances for Guimaraes across all competitions this season, operating generally as a centre-back, but he has also been utilized as a defensive midfielder on occasion.

The report states that Mikel Arteta is a fan of the 20-year-old’s versatility and is keen to ‘line up’ a deal to secure his services for next season.

The Italian’s current deal with the Portuguese outfit is set to expire in 2026, so they are under no immediate pressure to sell him. With that in mind, Arsenal, or Villa, will have to put their money where their mouth is to get a deal over the line.

Bamba’s huge potential is an investment opportunity

Considering he is still a youngster, Bamba still has potential to improve, but his performances have already shown the quality he possesses.

For Arsenal, Bamba could provide cover for the likes of Gabriel and William Saliba in defence, while he could also fill in for Thomas Partey Granit Xhaka and Jorginho, too, who are all over the age of 30.

When Arteta first arrived at the Emirates, he put a focus on buying young players who could improve hs squad in the long term, and bringing in Bamba could prove to be an excellent investment.

Villa, on the other hand, are arguably more in need of defensive recruits. Tyrone Mings has recently worked his way back into Emery’s starting XI, while the likes of Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa have also featured heavily this season.

Bamba could also provide cover for Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara in midfield if required. Squad depth is key to being successful in the Premier League, so that is clearly something that Emery is looking to address.

Guimaraes are unlikely to let one of their key players leave easily, but Bamba reportedly has a £26.5m release clause in his contract. If Arsenal and Villa meet that price tag, it will be up to the player to choose his next destination.

With the Gunners almost certainly playing in the Champions League next season, that may prove to be a bigger draw. Saying that, Bamba is likely to get more playing time at Villa Park, so he will have to decide what his priorities are.

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