Manchester United and Arsenal could go head to head once against for the signature of Boubakary Soumare this summer. The Lille defensive midfielder was linked to United during the January transfer window with the midfield being a problem area for United at the time but United added Bruno Fernandes to the squad during that window. There is no doubt that United will be seeking to sign a player that could allow Nemanja Matic to receive sufficient rest through the course of the full season.
It is suggested by The Sun that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will look to sign Soumare after completing the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from the French club in a deal worth £27 million, seemingly beating United to the transfer of the Brazilian defender with United reportedly getting involved in the deal on the eleventh hour, which seems to be a typical thing for journalists to report, giving rumours longevity and allowing another article to talk about his Arsenal beat United to the signing of the player.
The Daily Mail has reported that the 21-year-old could be available for around £50 million this summer, which could be comparative with other midfielders available this summer – Donny van de Beek for instance. It is suggested that Arsenal will face serious interest from United and Liverpool for the Frenchman this summer, which might be a ruse by the media to make it look like Arsenal are a big club again, after finishing eighth in the Premier League last season, only earning UEFA Europa League football by winning the Emirates FA Cup.
Soumare is a player who has raised his game for his club, vastly becoming an integral figure since making his first team debut in 2017. The player was also linked to Newcastle United in January, rejecting that move and staying put in France, presumably knowing that bigger clubs would be in touch during the summer transfer window, even despite the coronavirus pandemic. Arsenal are said to be interested in signing two midfielders with Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar linked.
United have a better relationship with Lille after signing Nicolas Pepe last summer and not Magalhaes this summer, which could mean that United will be broadcast as the losers once again, even if they had not even made a move for the Frenchman. Personally, I would rather see United sign a player like Van de Beek this summer as he would help to add more creativity, meaning that either Paul Pogba or Bruno Fernandes could be rested safe in the knowledge that at attack minded player will still be on the pitch. Regarding Matic though, a replacement will need to be found.
That said, James Garner, after what could be a successful loan spell this season, should United find him a club where he will play a lot of first team football, could be a rotation option for Matic from next season, which could see him ready to mount a challenge in the United first team. I would rather see him play than sign a player for £50 million, which could hamper Garner’s first team chances for a number of years, seeing another talented player leave the club for pastures new.
Written by John Walker