Arsenal intensify interest in French forward mimicking Mbappe, as asking price rises above £26m

Cengiz Under and Elye Wahi

Cengiz Under battling with Elye Wahi in a match between Marseille and Montpellier

Arsenal are keeping a close eye on rising Montpellier star Elye Wahi, according to reports in France.

Wahi recently scored the 20th Ligue 1 goal of his career so far, becoming only the second player to do so before the age of 20 after Kylian Mbappe. On Monday, he is celebrating his 20th birthday and is becoming the topic of transfer news at the same time.

According to Foot Mercato, Arsenal have been watching Wahi in recent months. Thanks to his form this season, in which he has scored seven goals from 15 games, their interest has only been growing.

Arsenal are currently in need of attacking reinforcements due to an injury to Gabriel Jesus. However, the French outlet believes Montpellier are more likely to consider offers for Wahi in the summer rather than January.

For now, the France under-21 international is under contract in his present surroundings until 2025. But he could be destined for a bigger club, such as the current Premier League leaders.

As well as Arsenal, Wahi has caught the attention of the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus.

And anyone who wishes to buy him will have to set aside a decent transfer sum. According to the report, Montpellier currently rate Wahi in the €30million (£26.6million) bracket.

If his current form continues, his valuation might only be heading in one direction. Therefore, clubs who have been monitoring his potential for a while might be encouraged to bid soon before things get out of hand.

Elye Wahi might not be short-term solution Arsenal need

Still, Arsenal might have to look elsewhere if they need someone to plug the gap until Jesus returns. There have been suggestions of them recalling Folarin Balogun from his loan spell at a different Ligue 1 club, Reims, but the academy graduate himself is attracting interest from elsewhere.

Hence, Arsenal are having to weigh up all their options when it comes to finding attacking cover. For now, they are relying on the likes of Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli up front.

In recent transfer windows, the Gunners have kept an eye to the future. Several young players have in turn developed under the guidance of Mikel Arteta.

It seems their strategy is continuing into 2023. But Wahi might be one for the pile of players to keep tabs on for a later transfer window rather than attempt to sign when it might be hard to convince his current club to negotiate.

Right now, perhaps their focus needs to be elsewhere if they are to succeed in bringing in someone who can immediately help their pursuit of the Premier League title, or at the very least a top-four finish.

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