Leeds United transfer target Boubakary Soumare would represent a major upgrade for Marcelo Bielsa amid reports linking him with a move to Elland Road this summer.
Reports earlier this year suggested that the Whites were interested in signing the Lille midfielder and it now appears that the club face significant competition in the race to land him.
According to The Daily Mail, it’s fellow Premier League side Leicester who currently find themselves in pole position to sign the French starlet, and the Foxes have opened talks over a potential £21m deal for the 22-year-old.
The report adds that Everton and Leeds both had scouts watching Lille’s game against Lens on Friday, while Newcastle have also held a long interest in him.
When you’ve got a number of Premier League sides after you, and have even been compared to Manchester United star Paul Pogba, you know you’re a very highly-rated talent.
It’s no surprise then that Lille president Gerard Lopez has previously waxed lyrical about the 22-year-old, saying: “He’s one of the very best at his job. He’s technical, with incredible physical power and wins a great deal of possession. He’s a modern No.6 or 8. We’ll see him in the France team very soon. He’s a clear vision of where he wants to go and he’s working very hard to get there.”
And, his teammate at Lille, former Swansea ace Renato Sanches, said: “He’s a great player. He’s so young and a great talent – a happy and humble guy. I don’t know when he’s going. It’s not my business. But he will be a good player in the future. Even better than now. He’s athletic. He’s fast. He’s strong. He has technique. He’s prepared for the Premier League.”
When you look at his stats, you can see exactly why Bielsa is keen on signing him this summer.
As per Whoscored, his averages of 1.4 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game in Ligue 1 this season is significantly better than what Mateusz Klich has produced, with the Polish ace’s interception numbers actually a quarter of what Soumare manages (0.3).
The young Frenchman also appears to be more accomplished with the ball at his feet too, boasting more passes per game and at a much higher accuracy, while he also averages more than double the amount of dribbles Klich makes per game too.
With Klich also soon to turn 31 next month, landing the 22-year-old Soumare just seems like a no-brainer for Bielsa and Leeds, both for the present and for the future.