Olivier Kemen was Newcastle’s only permanent signing during the summer of 2013, which is one more than they’ve made so far in this pre-season, but at just 16-years-old the former Metz tyro was never going to make an immediate impact.
He seems to have been raising plenty of admiring glances away from the spotlight though, as Liverpool and Tottenham have been linked with imminent bids for the France Under-19 regular.
Local paper the Newcastle Chronicle picked up a report in French daily L’Equipe stating the Reds and the Lilywhites are preparing for a bidding war over Kemen’s signature, with the Metro and the Express piping up with similar lines.
The Cameroon-born midfielder bagged three goals and laid on two assists in the Under-21 Premier League last year, and is currently captaining his country at the Under-19 European Championship in Greece, having been an ever present in qualifying, bagging once in six matches.
Kemen is yet to set foot on the pitch in the seniors’ black and white stripes, but did get on to the bench for Newcastle’s Premier League matches against Arsenal, Southampton and Spurs during the second half of last season.
Former Geordies interim coach John Carver, who was in charge for those fixtures, recently said of Kemen:
“He is learning and working with the group.”
“He’s got the temperament. We just need to look after his personality. He can be a bit lively.”
The Metro go as far as saying Liverpool have ‘entered negotiations’ regarding Kemen’s capture, although you wouldn’t want to hang your hat on what that freesheet comes out with.
Newcastle are 11/2 to be relegated at the end of their first season under Steve McClaren, with Ladbrokes offering 5/2 about the former England manager taking his new side back into the Premier League’s top ten by the campaign’s close.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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