Tottenham and Leicester have been beaten to making the first offer for midfield target Azzedine Ounahi after a bid emerged from Italy, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Ounahi is in demand following his impressive performances at the World Cup. He put in some dominant midfield displays to help Morocco reach the semi-finals of the tournament, where they lost to France.
The 22-year-old currently represents French side Angers at club level. But he has shown he is too good for them and is now pushing to join a bigger club this winter. Morocco and Angers team-mate Sofiane Boufal hopes to secure a similar transfer, according to reports coming out of France.
Several Premier League teams have been tipped to make moves for Ounahi. They include Tottenham, Leicester, Arsenal, Newcastle, West Ham and Leeds.
Recently, Spurs and Leicester have been the main clubs from English pushing the hardest to capture Ounahi.
Leicester are in talks with Angers over a potential deal. But Spurs chief Fabio Paratici could ruin their plan by completing a transfer first. As per Italian outlet La Repubblica, Spurs are ‘meddling’ in Leicester’s pursuit of the Ligue 1 star.
La Repubblica also brought up the possibility of him going to Napoli. And the Serie A leaders now appear to be the frontrunners to snare him.
Romano reports that Napoli have begun the bidding for Ounahi by submitting their first proposal. It is worth €15million (£13.2m).
Serie A leaders want Spurs, Leicester target
As part of the bid, Napoli have indicated they are happy for Ounahi to spend the remainder of the season on loan at Angers. He would then link up with the Napoli squad over the summer.
Discussions are ongoing between Angers and Napoli, as the French club may decide to reject the offer and hold out for more money. Romano, who cites fellow journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, claims Ounahi’s preference will be crucial to the deal reaching completion.
He could opt to reject Napoli’s advances and hold out for a Premier League switch, should playing in England be his dream.
But pushing back Napoli would be a brave move right now. This is because they sit top of the Serie A table after 16 matches and are on course to win their first league title since 1990.
Spurs and Leicester must now decide whether to submit offers of their own for Ounahi. They have more money to spend than Napoli and could therefore get Angers’ attention by bidding over the £13.2m mark.
However, Spurs and Leicester fans will not want their clubs to spend too much money when signing Ounahi.
While he was great at the World Cup, he has fairly limited experience in a top-five European league. Plus, he has never featured in the Champions League, which may be a problem for Antonio Conte at Spurs.
Of course, Ounahi could definitely develop into a top-class midfielder. But as Conte wants immediate success, he will not be interested in a signing for the long term. And the manager could demand Spurs chiefs go after a slightly older midfield alternative, such as Weston McKennie.
Meanwhile, Friday’s Transfer Gossip reveals Spurs could miss out on a French defender after Man Utd began talks for him.
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