Arsenal FC and AS Roma are leading the race for the signature of Auxerre’s 21-year-old forward Paul-Georges Ntep.


Paul-Georges Ntep on the radar [Image Courtesy]

This has been a breakthrough year for Paul-Georges Ntep as he has established himself in the first team of Auxerre and has continued his good goal scoring form from last season. The forward, who was born in Cameroon, has also established himself in the French U-21 side this year and has already scored six goals in seven appearances for them. He is highly rated back in France and considered to be among the brightest young prospect to have come up through their youth ranks in recent times.

Paul-Georges Ntep has already drawn a lot of attention from clubs across Europe, but according to reports in a leading French publication, Arsenal and Roma are leading the race for his signature currently. French side Lille have also monitored his progress, but are unlikely to be able to compete with either of the two sides in the transfer market.

Paul-Georges Ntep, whose current contract expires in 2015, is a pacy young forward who can play anywhere across the front three. The Frenchman has already stated his desire to join the Gunners earlier this month as he pointed out their wonderful record of developing French talents.

Arsenal is a club that trusts young players. But it would all depend on the project.

“If it is going to a new club to remain on the bench, what is the improvement? I don’t ask to be in the starting 11 of a big club immediately, but I could help in the not too long-term.

“If I have reached such a level now, it is because Auxerre offered me stability that allowed me to reach new levels.

“I don’t forget. Nowadays you can be a much-demanded player and tomorrow the player everyone will laugh about.

“The most important thing is not to leave, but leaving to reach a new standard. I haven’t made my decision just yet.

“Maybe the question will be topical this winter, but it will be up to the club first to think about it.

“The day I have an interesting project in front of me, I will think about it.” – Ntep said in an interview earlier this month.

Arsene Wenger is expected to sign a new striker in January as he looks to beef up his attack. Presently they have only Bendtner as a direct replacement for Giroud, while Yaya Sanogo has struggled with his fitness since his arrival. Arsenal do need a more prolific striker in order to sustain their title challenge, but it would be hard for Wenger to convince any world class striker to join the club in January as most of the clubs refuse to do business half-way through the season. But Arsenal certainly require a more established name than Paul-Georges Ntep to back-up Giroud. It is hard to fathom that Arsene Wenger will buy another young French forward this season after having signed Yaya Sanogo in the summer. Roma do look a more likely destination for the youngster at the moment.