Arsenal are one of the clubs said to be monitoring Boubakary Soumare of Lille, according to Sky Sports.
The young midfielder, France U-21 international, has so far made 23 appearances this season for his club, 17 in Ligue 1 and six in the Champions League. With his imposing 6’2″ frame he is very strong physically, but he also boasts terrific skill on the ball. The combination makes him very capable of keeping the ball under pressure in the middle of the park, as well as dribbling past opponents and taking the ball into the opposition half in a blink of an eye. He also has an eye for a pass.
The report likens him to Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, though he seems much more responsible on and off the ball than his more experienced, World Cup-winning compatriot.
It is only to be expected that the Gunners, should they choose to pursue a deal, face some stiff competition for Soumare’s signature. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Valencia are all apparently keeping a close eye on his situation. His contract with Lille lasts until the summer of 2022, which means the French club are by no means under pressure to sell. They would, apparently, like to keep him at least until the end of the season, but a deal could still happen this month, after they face Paris Saint-Germain on the 26th.
Arsenal have a good passer and hard tackler in the form of Granit Xhaka (providing he stays put), and they have able runners in Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, as well as quite a lot of creativity coming from a revitalized Mesut Ozil. But the willingness of a player like Soumare to run relentlessly from box to box, defend, take the ball far up the pitch and create something potentially dangerous, could prove a valuable addition.