Arsenal look set for disappointment in the race for Seko Fofana, with Kylian Mbappe giving his personal approval for Paris Saint-Germain to make a move for the midfielder.
The Gunners have already strengthened their midfield this summer with the addition of Portuguese talent Fabio Vieira. They could yet make more additions, though, with Fofana and Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans among those linked with a switch.
Fofana is in high demand, with Newcastle United potentially returning for the Ivorian international after missing out in January.
However, the two English clubs could fall short in their efforts to bring the Lens man back to the Premier League thanks to the input of influential Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe.
Fofana started his professional career with Manchester City, but wasn’t given any first-team opportunities by then-manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The midfielder spent a season on loan with Fulham in 2014-15, but has been with Lens since 2020 after establishing himself in Serie A with Udinese.
The 27-year-old was an ever-present in Ligue 1 last season, scoring eight times, and has been in high demand. However, Mbappe’s influence could prove telling.
The France international forward Mbappe opted to stay in Paris despite interest from Real Madrid, agreeing terms over a bumper new deal.
The former Monaco star is expected to have an input in Les Parisens’ transfer business as part of his new deal and, according to L’Equipe (via Get French Football News ), the forward and his father Wilfrid have been “positive” about PSG adding Fofana to their ranks.
According to the same report, Lens could demand as much as €40m (£34.4m) for Fofana, who was a youth international for France before declaring for Cote d’Ivoire. However, despite reported interest from the Premier League, he is believed to prefer to stay in France.
While PSG have reportedly entered into direct contact with the box-to-box midfielder, talks are not thought to have accelerated.
Fofana is under contract with Lens until 2024, so the club are in no immediate need to sell, though they are unable to offer European football after finishing seventh last term.
PSG’s first summer signing saw Nuno Mendes complete a permanent move from Sporting CP after spending last season on loan at the Parc des Princes.
However, the most important change in the French capital could come in the dugout, with Christophe Galtier the front-runner to replace Mauricio Pochettino as manager.
A switch to a 3-5-2 formation has been mooted if and when the Nice boss takes over. Such a move could bring reinforcements in a number of areas, with Milan Skriniar mentioned as a potential centre-back target and Renato Sanches – who played under Galtier at Lille – an option in midfield.