Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Newcastle all scouting sensational Ligue 1 youngster as they prepare for bidding war

Carlos Baleba of Lille

Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle United are all heavily interested in highly-rated Lille teenager Carlos Baleba, according to reports. 

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic breakthrough season in Ligue 1 this term, quickly becoming one of the division’s most in-demand players.

With the Premier League quartet vying to bring in Baleba ahead of next season, it looks like a bidding war could take place for the midfielder’s services.

Baleba joined Lille in January 2022 from the Brasseries du Cameroun academy, but only made his debut in a 4-1 win over Auxerre in August.

Since then, the talented youngster has now made 14 appearances across all competitions for the French side.

Generally operating from a central midfield position, Baleba is confident on the ball, with the vision to make effective passes in behind the opposition defence.

He is also very good at breaking up opposition attacks, averaging 0.9 successful tackles per match, something that has gradually improved after gaining more experience.

In terms of Lille’s stance on Baleba, it is thought that they see him in a similar light as Amadou Onana, who joined Everton last summer in a deal worth over £30m.

With that in mind, it’s likely the French side will demand a similar fee for the Cameroonian, despite Baleba’s lack of experience.

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No shortage of interest in Baleba

This is according to reputed transfer journalist Graeme Bailey, who, writing for 90Min, says that Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Newcastle have all sent scouts to watch Baleba.

Bailey also adds that AC Milan failed with a bid to land the midfielder in the recent January window, while Juventus, Nice and Moncao have also registered an interest.

After all, bringing in young players with high potential is key to long-term footballing success, as well as on a financial level, as they generally have a high re-sale value.

Looking at Onana at Everton, for example, he has put in some solid performances for the Toffees this season and has already had interest from Chelsea and Arsenal, so it looks likely he will eventually be sold on for a profit.

Indeed, if Baleba could have a similar impact in the Premier League, he could potentially be worth a sizeable amount in the future, if he can reach is sky-high potential.

However, even if Lille would be willing to accept around £30m for the youngster, with so many European clubs pushing for his signature, Baleba’s ultimate transfer fee may end up being a lot higher than that.

With that in mind, this will certainly be one to watch as we edge closer to the end of the season. For now, though, Baleba is completely focused on helping his team secure a top-four finish.

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