Scottish champions Celtic are one of a host of clubs who have been linked with a move for Marseille forward Bamba Dieng, with the 22-year-old having been deemed surplus to requirements by new boss Igor Tudor at the Stade Velodrome.
The suggestion is that the Senegal international could cost the Old Firm side around £15m were he to be sold before the window closes, with two years still remaining on his current deal with the Ligue 1 outfit.
The French side’s willingness to part ways with the 11-cap gem has no doubt come as something of a surprise such has been his eye-catching form of late, with the versatile forward – who can feature all across the front line – having scored eight goals and provided three assists in what was a real breakthrough campaign last season.
The “explosive” talent – as dubbed by former boss Jorge Sampaoli – has been likened to compatriot and international colleague Sadio Mane such is his remarkable quality, with that comparison a marker of just how highly-rated he is in his homeland.
The likeness does not end there, however, with the pair also said to share a number of stylistic and statistical similarities, as per FBref, with Mane too also offering the flexibility to play in a variety of attacking roles.
The current Bayern Munich man – who left Liverpool earlier this summer on a £35m deal – notably ranks in the top 1% for progressive passes received and the top 3% for touches in the attacking penalty area among those in his position across Europe’s big five leagues, with Dieng not far behind as he ranks in the top 12% and the top 6% for the same two metrics.
With both figures clearly providing a real menacing threat in the final third, it seemingly bodes well for those at Parkhead that they could potentially have a Mane-esque figure in their ranks, were the Marseille man to sign before the September deadline.
Such a comparison is noteworthy considering the devastating form that the former Anfield hero has shown in recent years, having notably scored 120 goals and provided 49 assists in 269 games in all competitions during his time on Merseyside.
A key component of the side that romped to domestic and European glory under Jurgen Klopp, the 30-year-old has since made a smooth transition to life in Germany, scoring four goals in as many games for the Bavarian giants.
Such a talent had appeared rather unique, hence the intrigue that Dieng could well be able to follow in his footsteps.