Arsenal are in pole position to snap up prodigious Marseille winger Isaac Lihadji this month, with a deal for the teenager looking far more likely than Thomas Lemar.
Reports have linked the Gunners with a move once again for World Cup winner Lemar, after he struggled to make an impact at Atletico Madrid, and whom almost joined the Gunners for a club record fee in summer 2017.
The latest suggestions from Spain were that Atleti were prepared to offer Lemar as a makeweight in their attempts to lure Gunners striker Alexandre Lacazette to the Wanda Metropolitano after they encountered problems in their efforts to persuade first choice Edinson Cavani to ditch PSG for Madrid.
However, Arsenal are loathe to let Lacazette leave this month, especially with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang facing a three-match ban following his dismissal against Crystal Palace on Sunday. And more to the point, the costs involved with signing Lemar direct are likely to be well beyond Arsenal’s means anyway this month.
However, reports in France claim a deal to sign talented teenager Lihadji look far more likely, with the 17-year-old now poised to leave Marseille at the end of the season after talks over a new deal broke down.
The player has previously been mentioned as a transfer target for Manchester United and Barcelona, but according to French newspaper La Province, the Gunners look well placed to sign him.
As per the report, Lihadji could be available for free this summer and is able to negotiate terms now – with Arsenal, who have been known to raid Ligue 1 for young talents over the years – reported to be at the front of the queue.
Lihadji, who has appeared in Marseille matchday squads five times this season despite his tender years, is already a star of the French U18s side, scoring four times in his 10 games at that level.
The report does mention the likes of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus,Valencia and Lille having also kept tabs on the winger, while there is also rival interest from Premier League pair Everton and Tottenham too.
But it says OM boss Andre Villas-Boas has already accepted he faces a losing battle retaining his services, with a move to Emirates Stadium tipped to go through some time this month.