Reports: Barcelona end interest in signing French star
What's the rumour?
Barcelona have been busy this month having identified their targets for the summer transfer window. However, according to the reports of The Sun, they have backed out of a deal to sign Olympique Lyon skipper, Nabil Fekir. The Frenchman had been on the radar of the Catalans following an impressive campaign thus far. He has a contract with his parent team until 2020.
In case you didn't know...
Fekir made his debut for Lyon in 2013. However, the 2014/15 season was his breakout year when he became a regular in the first team. He made 34 appearances in Ligue 1 scoring 13 goals and 12 assists. The following season he was struck with a major blow when he suffered a torn knee ligament and was able to play only 9 games in the league.
The heart of the matter
The former Lyon youth product is very versatile. Naturally an attacking midfielder, he has the ability to adapt to playing different positions up front. In his career at the Les Gones, he has played up to five various positions in the attacking half of the pitch including centre-forward. However, this season he has been primarily employed as an attacking midfielder, in a number 10 role, where he has scored nearly all of his goals from.
Fekir is having one of the best seasons of his career, firstly becoming the captain of the club and then with performances on the pitch having scored 21 goals and produced 7 assists in all competitions so far. He averages 3 shots, 3.4 dribbles and 2 key passes per game. He also has the ability to earn set pieces, receiving nearly 4 fouls per game in the league.
The 24-year-old has a wide array of strengths in his game, most notably his crossing, dribbling, passing and long-range shooting. He has got incredible pace, which makes him a threat on counter attacks and is very good at linking up with his fellow attackers. He does have a disciplinary issue as he tends to commit a lot of fouls and has received 8 yellow cards in Ligue 1.
Rumour probability/rating: 8/10
Barcelona have a clear vision for the transfer window and it includes adding players which will add further to their star-studded team. Since they are no longer interested in Fekir, it has opened the door for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger's side has been keen admirers of the Lyon captain and have had their eye on him for quite some time now. They have emerged as the sole contenders to land their target.
The Gunners will now consider themselves as the favourites and Wenger will be looking at a backup for Mesut Ozil or Henrikh Mkhitaryan since he will have the opportunity to sign a player who can play through the middle and on the right flank.
Nabil Fekir will be hot property in the summer. As per his agent, all options will be considered in the off season. The Catalan giants withdrawing themselves may prove to be in the best interests of the player since he would have had to battle it out with the already established first-team stars and would have potentially had limited opportunities considering the position he prefers and the formation that the Blaugrana play.