Arsenal and Manchester United are reportedly ready to go head-to-head to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare this summer.
The 21-year-old enjoyed an impressive campaign for Lille last term and has been compared to Chelsea star N’Golo Kante.
Arsenal have already signed Willian on a free transfer, while centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes has had a medical ahead his proposed switch.
As for United, they have endured a frustrating window so far – with the chances of signing Jadon Sancho seemingly over.
However, Foot Mercato, via the Daily Express, claims that both clubs want to bring in former Newcastle target Soumare.
The report states that the Gunners are ‘clearly in the picture’ to secure his signature. Mikel Arteta is eyeing midfield reinforcements and will let a number of players leave, including Matteo Guendouzi.
But United are interested too, although the 21-year-old is not a priority target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Premier League duo are not on their own in showing an interest, with AC Milan also keen.
Newcastle previously made a club-record bid to sign Soumare back in January, but are unlikely to renew their interest.
For their part Lille are reluctant to let another top asset leave, although a big offer may be too good to turn down.
Soumare in the Kante mould
Meanwhile, speaking earlier in the year, French football expert Jonathan Johnson compared Soumare to Chelsea star Kante.
“I’ve seen him being talked about as perhaps adding some attacking prowess to a team – I don’t see him as that kind of player, I don’t think he has that creativity or goal threat,” he told the Transfer Talk podcast.
“He is surprisingly technical and is a good passer of the ball.
“He’s also physical and gets stuck in, that does result in yellow and red cards from time to time.
“He is somebody that would add a lot of mettle to a club’s midfield. Thatis why you have these clubs after him.
“The idea that he is a deep-lying midfielder is not correct. He’s more of a defensive midfielder.
“If you think of the top defensive midfielders in European football – N’Golo Kante who is already at Chelsea, the likes of Idrissa Gueye who of course spent time in the Premier League.
“There are not many others who you could say are really top class defensive-minded midfielders.
“Soumare has the makings of being a very, very good one.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United have reportedly been told that they need to up their offer to £36million to land Douglas Costa this summer. Read more…