The January transfer window has seen a host of different names being linked with major clubs across Europe, one name perhaps not so familiar is a young central midfielder Boubakary Soumare who is currently playing for LOSC Lille.
The 18-year-old has emerged as one of the brightest young performers in Ligue 1 this season, after making his first team debut for the club as a substitute during the 3-0 victory over FC Metz.
During Lille's recent 2-1 defeat against Stade Rennais FC, a host of scouts were in attendance to take a closer look at the young Frenchman, and his performance certainly did not disappoint.
This January has seen a host of English Premier League clubs stand up and take notice of the ability that Soumare possesses, with Leicester, Everton and Manchester City all interested in securing the services of the central midfielder.
Would LOSC Lille sell?
Certainly, if the proposed fee is too good to turn down, then Lille would have to consider a bid for their up-and-coming midfielder. Selling what could be their star asset this month would certainly be a good financial move by the club.
However, the transfer fee in question could be considered too high for a player who has only made ten first-team appearances for the French outfit.
There have been other Lille players linked with moves away this month. While Ibrahim Amadou is a priority target for Crystal Palace, Thiago Maia has been linked with several clubs even prior to his arrival in Lille. Should either of those players be sold, it would help the club hold onto their dynamic midfielder.
The option that could be attractive to Lille would be the possibility of selling him for profit now and getting the player back on loan until the end of the season. This arrangement would certainly benefit Lille, as they would be able to rely on their physical midfielder in their bid to prevent relegation this season in Ligue 1.
What qualities does he possess?
The central midfielder is not the conventional modern-day central midfielder. In an attempt to define his role, he would not be considered a holding midfielder or an attacking midfielder, but a more old-fashioned box-to-box midfielder.
The young Frenchman is being likened to fellow professionals already in his short career, with the media dubbing him the 'new Paul Pogba'. It's a huge comparison to make this early, but it also shows what strengths Soumare has to his game and just how highly rated he is in Europe right now.
Having watched Soumare emerging this season, the box-to-box midfielder shows great anticipation both off and on the ball. His calmness in possession shows a fearless nature to his game, demonstrated by his willingness to accept the ball anywhere on the pitch.
The eighteen-year-old is a true powerhouse, his running and his presence have excelled on the pitch and he looks like a natural to fit to play in any league across Europe right now.
The Frenchman possesses good skill and vision, whilst holding the ball and taking care of possession very well. With these qualities and his dynamic running and athleticism, Soumare certainly has the qualities to become a top class central midfielder.
What club will he move to?
As mentioned previously, three Premier League teams are known to be keen admirers of Soumare, with Manchester City being the most notable to have declared their interest publicly.
The fee will obviously be the key to where Soumare could move to. The midfielder is rated at £20m, but with the competition being so stiff, significantly more could be required to secure the services of the Frenchman.
Manchester City are considered the early favourites for the player's signature, especially with Yaya Toure in the last year of his contract, the club will be looking for his long-term replacement.
A deal with Manchester City ideally also suit Lille best, as they would almost certainly loan the player back to the club for the remainder of the season. Both clubs would benefit with Soumare gaining more first-team experience and Lille would have time to find a replacement of their own.
However, a move to Manchester City could also be in jeopardy, should the league leaders make a move to bring the highly sought-after Nice central midfielder Jean-Michael Seri to the Etihad stadium.
A move to Everton or Leicester could be considered low key for a player, who is being touted by many in France to be the next player to emerge in to the spotlight. Nevertheless, both clubs would bring more first-team opportunities for Soumare.
A Leicester midfield partnership of Soumare and Ndidi would, at least on paper, be one of the most powerful midfields outside the top six of the Premier League.
With under a week left in the January transfer window, the rumors surrounding Boubakary Soumare will almost certainly grow stronger, as we will see more and more deals cross the line. No matter where he will be playing his football come February, this young Frenchman will certainly be a player to keep track of.Published 26 Jan 2018, 21:06 IST