Roma to rival Arsenal in chase for latest jewel unearthed at Auxerre
Arsenal fans could be forgiven for a Gallic shrug of the shoulders at news that the club are interested in another Auxerre striker, but the Gunners are pondering an £8.5m bid Paul-Georges Ntep.
Ntep’s countryman Olivier Giroud is 7/1 to notch first against Chelsea in Arsenal’s next Premier League outing, but his former club-mate Yaya Sanogo remains in the treatment room.
The Daily Star also credits Manchester United, the Stamford Bridge club and Tottenham with an interest in the 21-year-old who plies his trade as a wide-forward at club level.
Ntep’s form in Ligue 2 and the Coup de la Ligue this term has been promising with the Cameroon-born forward netting nine goals in 18 outings across the two competitions.
However, it’s been his contributions to Willy Sagnol’s French Under-21 side that are more likely to explain the esteem he is held in across the continent.
Indeed, while not setting the Emirates alight since his arrival from Stade L’Abbeye-Deschamps, Sanogo’s Ligue 2 tally of 11 goals in 21 games compares favourably with that of Ntep.
Arsenal’s latest target has notched a modest 13 goals in a total 47 outings for AJA.
However, called up for the Toulon youth tournament Ntep scored twice for Les Bleus on the way to a third-place finish.
His golden touch in age group competition has continued this term with five goals and two assists in five games during European Under-21 Championship qualification.
Footage of Ntep showcases a pacy and direct wide forward with a fondness for a stepover but often seemingly reading from a different script to his teammates.
Nonetheless Roma’s French coach Rudy Garcia, clearly feels he has seen enough to consider bringing in the youngster in January to add another dimension to the Giallorossi attack.
Luckily for Arsenal, should they wish to pursue their interest, Arsene Wenger’s reputation for giving young players a chance hasn’t been lost on the Auxerre man.
Ntep told L’Equipe magazine “Arsenal is a club that trusts young players. But (moving there) it would all depend on the project”.