Stoke boss Mark Hughes is hoping to add another European feather to his transfer cap by beating some of the Premier League big boys to an emerging talent in France.
The Potters boss has reportedly set his sights on Lille playmaker Sofiane Boufal and his hoping to beat the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United to the 22-year-old this summer.
According to Le10sport the attacking midfielder has been attracting admiring glances from all of Europe’s top leagues, prompting Lille to slap a £15m price tag on his head.
Such a fee is unlikely to deter the Premier League big boys and although the Britannia Stadium outfit do not have quite the financial muscle as their English top flight counterparts Hughes will hope the lure of first-team football and the chance to play some free-flowing football alongside the likes of Bojan, Xherdan Shaquiri and Ibrahim Afellay will see him pip the likes of Pep Guardiola, Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal/Jose Mourinho to the youngster’s signature.
The player’s agent recently claimed that his client is happy at his current club but hinted that it would be hard to ward off potential suitors if his current form continues, saying:”Lille bought him for €3m, everybody is happy but they know it will be hard to keep him if he continues as he has been playing.”
Boufal joined Lille in January last year, having impressed in a three-year spell with Angers, and after hitting nine goals in 32 games from midfield the interest in his services is understandable.
Mark Hughes has all but resigned the Tony Pulis style of play to the past at the Britannia and having assembled a squad of talented individuals the Potters stand a much better chance of beating their mega-rich rivals to Boufal than they would have done in the past.
Stoke travel to Dean Court to take on Bournemouth this weekend and the odds suggest they will have to be at their best to beat the survival-hunting Cherries.
The hosts go into the tie as even-money favourites, with a Potters win on at 11/4 and the draw available at 23/10.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.