Reports in France claim Chelsea are among a number of clubs interested in Saint-Etienne’s teenager midfielder Lucas Gourna-Douath.
The 17-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season with Les Verts, making 23 Ligue 1 appearances. He has made nine starts and impressed with his displays in the centre of the park.
The Parisian was placed on the bench for the final two games of last season but did not make an appearance. However, manager Claude Puel has put his trust in the talented youngster this term.
Already capped by France at Under-16 and Under-17 level, he looks set for a stellar career. But it may be away from Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
According to Chelsea News via Foot Mercato, the Blues have been monitoring the youngster for some time. And they are not alone in feeling that he is one for the future.
Italian giants AC Milan have been credited with an interest while German side RB Leipzig have also been linked. It seems inevitable that others will join the race, especially if he maintains his form until the end of 2020-2021.
Gourna-Douath has yet to score for his side but, operating as a defensive midfielder, that is not his primary function.
Saint-Etienne’s hand to be forced?
Saint-Etienne’s financial problems have been well documented. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit many clubs hard and the Massif Central outfit are no different.
It seems as though they will need to raise funds by selling players and Gourna-Douath has value. Foot Mercato feel the starlet was worth €15 at the start of the season but could now be €25m.
That is a lot of money for such a young player but those involved would be able to afford him. And they would be getting a player unafraid of the big time.
He outshone Italy international Marco Verratti as Puel’s men fought out a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in January 6. He played the full 90 minutes on that occasion and was far from overawed facing Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Saint-Etienne are known as a club that develops players before selling them on. A recent example is defender William Saliba, who moved to Arsenal in the summer of 2019.
Gourna-Douath’s age means he might go down the same route if moving to a top club. But finances suggest it is likely to happen sooner rather than later.