Arsenal and Chelsea do battle for French starlet

Guingamp midfielder Gianelli ImbulaA cross channel battle between Arsenal, Chelsea, Marseille and Monaco appears likely to ensue over talented French prospect Gianelli Imbula, talkSPORT reports.

The 20-year-old midfielder impressed in helping his current side, Guingamp, back to Ligue 1 last season, while also having represented France at U21 level.

Guingamp manager Jocelyn Gourvennec is making plans for next season which include Imbula, but has acknowledged the fact a big-money offer would see the starlet leave.

Speaking to Eurosport France, he said: “I am preparing for the season and counting on him.

“After that, we know very well that if one of the big French clubs comes to us with a big proposal it will be difficult for the club to refuse. It would be difficult for us to keep [him].

“Gianelli was very clear with us. If he is with us this season, he will be very happy. Now, if the offer from a big French club satisfies our chiefs this will be the case too. The really interested [clubs] are Marseille and Monaco.”

Despite Gourvannec’s comments both Arsenal and Chelsea are said to hold a more than fleeting interest in Imbula.

He has appeared 71 times for Guingamp and was born in Belgium to parents from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Imbula was also the youngest ever player to appear in Ligue 2, when in 2009 he took to the field a month after turning 17.

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