The two Premier League clubs that Boubakary Soumare turned down an offer from Newcastle United in favour of waiting for have been revealed.
The midfielder was the subject of a club-record bid from Newcastle on Deadline Day, but decided to stay with Lille, even though they had accepted the Magpies’ offer.
It was reported at the time that Soumare wanted to wait to join a bigger Premier League club – and reports in France have now pinpointed his exact ambitions.
According to Le10 Sport, Soumare only wants to leave Lille to join Liverpool as his first choice, with Manchester United his second option.
As per the report, both clubs are aware of Soumare’s preference and will consider the possibility of moving for him in the summer window.
While the pair of Premier League giants are yet to make any initial contact over the idea of signing Soumare, it is claimed they will both monitor his situation until the end of the season, with links to United the stronger of the two with the player seen as a possible successor for Paul Pogba in the midfield.
Magpies manager Steve Bruce has defended his club’s decision to try and sign Soumare, despite his side often being criticised for a lack of goals from their attack.
“There wasn’t a striker to be had at that sort of money, and that’s the top and bottom of it.
“Who can we buy who can make a difference to us? There simply isn’t anyone who is better than what we’ve got, in my opinion.”
Asked why he had targeted the Manchester United midfield target despite adding loan signings Nabil Bentaleb and Valentino Lazaro to his squad, Bruce added: “You can have as good a striker as you can up the pitch, but if you can’t create enough to them… that’s where I think we fall a bit short.
“I think we have to be better, a bit more creative as a team.”
Bruce added: “We had a plane booked to go and meet him, but the boy changed his mind. We thought last weekend we had a chance to bring him in.
“He’s only young and there’s a lot of top clubs who have been linked with him. You’ve got to respect the decision.
“At the death, it was, ‘We want to keep our options open until the summer’. He changed his mind, otherwise I wouldn’t have gone on a goose chase. Certainly, I wouldn’t be getting on the plane.”
However, with the report revealing that Lille could have recouped €60m from Newcastle’s offer – taking potential add-ons into account – prising the 20-year-old away from Les Dogues may not be a cheap operation.
Soumare is not the only Lille player to be linked with a Premier League move, with teammate Victor Osimhen having been linked with Tottenham Hotspur.
However, reports from the same outlet indicate that Spurs now face competition from two of Europe’s biggest clubs in the race for the promising Nigerian striker. Read the full story here.