COMMENTARY | French club Lille has reportedly put a price tag on French youth international starlet Florian Thauvin.
French newspaper La Provence is reporting that, "What could happen is that Lille say, 'OK, we will sell him but only for €15m (nearly $20 million).' "You see, at the end of the day, they (Marseille) do not want him that much."
Along with Marseille, Arsenal and Newcastle have also been interested in the playmaker. The Gunners have seemingly been keen on Thauvin for quite some time, and were thought to be favorites to secure the player's signature in January before he signed with Lille from another French club, Bastia.
After Lille signed Thauvin in January, the team loaned him back to Bastia for the rest of the season. In 32 league games with Bastia during the 2012-2013 season, Thauvin scored 10 goals (good enough for second best on the team). The 20-year-old also helped France win the FIFA U-20 World Cup earlier this summer in Turkey, scoring three goals in six games.
On paper, Thauvin seems like a perfect match with the Gunners. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has a history of buying either young players, or players from French clubs (or a combination of the two) during transfer markets.
Earlier in the summer, Wenger brought in Thauvin's U-20 teammate Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer for French club Auxerre. Other players from French clubs in which Wenger has brought to Arsenal over the last three seasons include Olivier Giroud, Gervinho, Park Chu-Young, Marouane Chamakh, and Laurent Koscielny.
While Thauvin's talent is undeniable, the youngster's price tag of nearly $20 million will most likely be a turnoff for Wenger. Wenger has been hesitant to meet other team's evaluations for players in the transfer market so far this summer. The French manager has failed to pull the trigger on transfers for Gonzalo Higuain, Marouane Fellaini, Bernard, and Stevan Jovetic (this list could also soon include Luis Gustavo) since the transfer market opened up at the beginning of the summer.
Arsenal's chief executive (Ivan Gazidis) has claimed that Wenger has nearly $110 million available to spend this summer, and a $15-$20 million bid for Thauvin would barely put a dent in the team's war chest.
Arsenal fans are hoping Wenger pulls a rabbit out of his hat by the time the transfer market closes on September 2. The north London squad has some significant depth issues and is in need of several players if it wishes to compete for silverware this upcoming season.
Christopher Moore has been following Arsenal Football Club for over 10 years.
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