Manchester City and Arsenal battling it out for the new Ben Arfa
Arsenal could be about to lock horns with Manchester City over highly-rated attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir, with both clubs thought to be keen on pursuing a deal for the 21-year-old star.
The latest product of Lyon’s famed youth academy, Fekir is enjoying an excellent season in France, having already scored seven goals in 15 Ligue 1 appearances to help Les Gones climb up to within two points of current leaders Marseille.
A France under-21 international who is also eligible to play for Algeria, Fekir’s small frame, pace and dribbling skills have seen some already comparing the youngster to another one-time Lyon youth product and former Premier League favourite Hatem Ben Arfa.
The former Newcastle United man’s contract with the Toon was terminated this month, with the midfielder returning to France with Nice.
And while Fekir may possess similar attributes to Ben Arfa on the pitch, away from it the youngster is unlikely to suffer the same kind of disciplinary problems that have dogged the ex-Magpies man throughout his career.
In fact the Lyon star may be the more complete player with Fekir’s eye for a pass, set-piece delivery and finishing skills setting him out as one of Europe’s hottest prospects.
Little wonder then that Arsenal – a club where fellow French talents like Samir Nasri previously flourished – are being linked with a move for the attacking midfielder who could command a transfer fee of up to £20m if Lyon have their way.
But the Gunners could face some competition from an old transfer adversary in Manchester City with the Etihad club keen to build a squad for the future.
And with the likes of Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Eliaquim Mangala and, of course, Nasri, already on the Sky Blues books, a move to the affluent north-west team could well tempt Fekir with City competing for top honours both domestically and in Europe.
Arsenal, however, will be hoping that the presence of manager Arsene Wenger, a much-revered figure in his homeland, coupled with the opportunity to live and work in London will encourage the player to choose the Gunners, should any bids come to fruition.
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