Leicester City are closing in on the signing of Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare as they look to get their business done early ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
What’s the story?
The Foxes’ interest in Soumare has been widely reported for several months now, but it appears as though the Midlands outfit have secured their man, seeing off several other clubs for his signature.
According to well-respected journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, a contract has already been agreed between the 22-year-old and Leicester, with the youngster’s arrival set to be announced shortly.
Fans will be buzzing
Leicester have shown remarkable progress under Brendan Rodgers over the last two seasons, finishing fifth in 2019/20 and securing the FA Cup this time around.
A place in the Champions League qualification spots is still within their grasp heading into the final day of the season, although they’ll either need a favour from Crystal Palace or Aston Villa, or a big swing in goal difference to leapfrog one of Chelsea or Liverpool.
Nevertheless, it’s been a remarkable campaign for the King Power outfit, given their relatively modest resources compared to their fellow top four competitors, and it’s clear the 2016 Premier League champions have already begun plotting for the future.
With European football of some description already secured for next season, Rodgers is going to need to add some strength in depth in order to compete on multiple fronts.
A striker has long been on the club’s wishlist, and now a new component to Leicester’s engine room is seemingly set to arrive.
Soumare’s proposed transfer will surely have the fans buzzing after his exploits with the Ligue 1 table toppers. The former France Under-21 international has featured in 31 league games for Christophe Galtier’s side as they look to end Paris Saint-Germain’s three-year dominance of French football.
Although Soumare doesn’t grab headlines with goals or assists, scoring just once and providing only three assists in 111 outings for Lille, he should complement the likes of Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Wilfried Ndidi very well.
He epitomises what it means to be a traditional box-to-box midfielder, combining his natural power, stamina and athleticism with precise passing and intelligent decision-making on the ball to devastating effect.
Newcastle United reportedly agreed a £35m fee with Lille for Soumare last summer before the Frenchman turned the Magpies down, while Leicester have seemingly benefitted from the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic and the collapse of the French football television deal, to get their man for significantly cheaper.
Romano recently tweeted to confirm the contract agreement and the reported fee the Foxes are set to pay: “The real fee for Boubacary Soumaré from Lille to Leicester City will be around €23m [add ons included]. Contract until June 2026 already agreed. Here we go is coming”
It’s a transfer that could see Leicester close the gap on their rivals at the top of the Premier League and keep Rodgers’ men marching forward.