Liverpool face battle for Marseille skipper

Liverpool are set to battle it out with the likes of Everton, West Ham United and Birmingham City for the signature of Marseilles captain Mamadou Niang.

The Senegalese forward was the subject of intense transfer speculation last summer, with Liverpool, Everton and West Ham closely linked with the player at the time. However, after Birmingham’s failure to land Roman Pavlyuchenko in January, it is believed they too have now turned their attention to the player who is currently leading the Ligue 1 goal scoring charts this term with 15.

The Senegal forward was understood to be happy in France, having signed a new contract just last year, tying him to Marseilles until July 2014. However, in November 2009, as the January transfer window approached, Niang told

“I am always being linked with a move but to be honest and in reality I am here at Marseille enjoying my football.

“Let’s wait and see what happens in the window or at the end of the season.

“My job is to focus on my current club, nothing else.”

Reports have today emerged in France suggesting that the in-form captain is likely to be on the move this summer. According to, Olympique Marseille chairman Jean-Claude Dassier told French media sources:

“Our captain Mamadou Niang can leave if he wants to and if the right offer from another club comes our way. It would be pointless to keep him in that case”.

As well as the aforementioned Premier League clubs, Atletico Madrid and FC Seville are all interested in his services.

The chances of Niang being made available by Marseilles increased this week after the player was involved in an altercation with a fan hunting for autographs outside Marseilles’s training ground. The episode was predictably caught on camera, and Niang can be seen acting aggressively towards an over-enthusiastic fan who had smacked the bonnet of the player’s Ferrari as he drove past the crowd. Niang immediately stopped the car, got out and confronted the supporter. Niang can be seen slapping or cuffing a young man after a heated exchange, and so could face disciplinary action from the French FA and his club.

Niang joined Marseilles for 7 million euros in 2005 after scoring 25 goals in 63 appearances for Strasbourg, helping the Alsace club win Coupe de la Ligue. For Marseilles Niang has scored 81 goals in 171 appearances in all competitions, and his status at the club has risen to the extent that he was awarded the captaincy for his efforts.

Due to the player age (Niang turns 31 in Ocober) it is not thought he would represent a particularly eye-watering fee, with £6-8 million touted as a reasonable estimate of the player’s value.

Niang is noted for his positional sense, as well as his strength and aerial prowess. The French league is not dissimilar to the English Premier League in pace and tenacity, and Niang would not take long to adjust to the rigours of the English game. Despite his age, Niang shows little sign of slowing down, and is on the verge of leading Marseilles to their first league title in 18 years.

Check out Mamadou Niang’s finer moments here on youtube

[youtube GoBSIMkbcTw]

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