Southampton’s Mario Lemina has set his sights on a bigger club and wants to stay in England amid links to Arsenal and Manchester United.
The 25-year-old has admitted he only ever had plans to stay two years with Saints and says he told the club a while ago that he had planned to move on – and he appears to to have his sights set on United or Arsenal.
The Times claimed on Tuesday evening that Man Utd had been given permission to sign Mario Lemina from Southampton in a potential £18million deal.
However, the Evening Standard reports a senior source at Old Trafford has rubbished the rumours and claims they have no interest in the former Juventus man.
Arsenal are also understood to have made an enquiry, while the MEN reports that Leicester were interested – probably before they signed Youri Tielemans permanently.
Asked if he wanted to stay in the Premier League, Lemina told France Football: “Certainly it is an exceptionally interesting league. The best thing for me would be to stay here, but I don’t close the door on any club, or any country. I aspire to play in the very biggest clubs, now we will see what is offered to me.
“I made the decision to leave Juventus for Southampton in search of more playing time, and I got it. I made a good impression in England, I received good feedback at a certain point, so I hope that clubs won’t have a short memory.
“I am not scared, I made a decision and I take full responsibility for it. I decided to tell the club representatives that I wanted to leave, there is no turning back.”
Lemina, who was a £15.4m signing from Juventus in 2017, has insisted he wants to play at “another level”.
“I quite simply told myself that I would do two years at Southampton, and then go to another level. I had an agreement with the Sporting Director,” said Lemina, who has not been named in Southampton’s squad for their pre-season tour of Austria.
Lemina though claims that a Champions League club is not a must for him – opening the door on potential moves to Man Utd and Arsenal.
Asked if playing in Europe’s top club competition was part of his criteria for moving, he added: “It is a bonus. If I get the opportunity to play in it this season, why not, but I am truly looking to find consistency again, to become an important player in a team again with big objectives.
“I need to play! That is genuinely my priority. I want to show the whole world what I am capable of.”
Lemina, without spelling it out, appears to have set his heart on a move to either United or Arsenal, but there will be numerous takers for the energetic midfielder, who is still open to a move abroad.