Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has stepped up his attempt to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare, with the 18-year-old being branded as the 'next Paul Pogba'.
According to the Sun, Guardiola reportedly sent out City chief Brian Marwood to watch Soumare in Lille's fixture against Rennes on Wednesday evening. The midfielder has attracted attention this season due to his box-to-box displays, which have led to comparisons to his fellow countryman Pogba.
Lille are expecting a bid from Manchester City for midfielder Boubakary Soumare (18) who they value at £35m. Lille, who need to raise funds to comply with FFP rules, would prefer to do a deal this month and take Soumare back on loan. [Sky Sports News] pic.twitter.com/wasrEupbUO— City Watch (@City_Watch) January 21, 2018
Soumare was in the Paris Saint-Germain academy until last summer when he moved to Lille, and the youngster only made his debut in November of last year. The Frenchman is expected to cost City £25m due to his outstanding performances so far for Lille.
The youngster is said to be the replacement for veteran Yaya Toure. The Ivorian is now in the final months of his contract at the Etihad Stadium, with the 34-year-old not expected to be given an extension past the summer. Toure has played a bit-part role for City this season, and has only made a total of nine appearances in all competitions this season.
With a new face set to come in to take his place one thing comes to mind: why do City have to go out and buy an 18-year-old when they have the best academy in the world?
So much money has been pumped into the academy, with the best youngsters in the world playing for their youth teams, but City still have to go out and buy a youngster from another team.
It does seem quite baffling that with young Phil Foden - who won the U-17 World Cup with England - is being reportedly overlooked by another youngster. Foden should be given the chance to play instead of bringing in someone who could be as good if not a bit worse than the Englishman.
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As for City, up next for them is the second leg of their semi-final clash against Bristol City in the Carabao Cup. The Citizens hold a slender 2-1 lead heading into the game, and the current league leaders will need to be on the top form in order to avoid a shock cup exit.