Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed the club’s interest in Lyon’s youngster Clement Grenier.
Clement Grenier is one of the most exciting young players in France at the moment. The 22-year-old has established himself in the Lyon first team this season and has made 28 appearances in the league (eight as substitute). Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has confirmed the London club’s interest in the French U-21 international and said that the young midfielder reminds him of former Gunner Samir Nasri.
“We are following him, I like the intelligence of his play.
“He has interesting qualities, if anyone, he reminds me of Nasri.” – The Arsenal boss was quoted in press.
But back in France he has been often compared with Lyon legend Juninho. Especially in recent times, as he is seemingly run into a habit of scoring from free-kicks. Last night, another sumptuous free-kick goal sealed Lyon’s victory over Rennes and booked their place in the Champions League. Arsenal scout Grimandi was in the stands to watch over him and the Gunners prepare a bid to land him at the Emirates.
Clement Grenier though didn’t reveal too much about his future at the club in the post-match interview.
“My decision will remain with me tonight. We’ll celebrate & look at that later.” – The Lyon midfielder said.
Clement Grenier joined Lyon’s youth academy back in 2002 from FC Annonay. But despite making his first team debut in the 2009/10 season, in was only last season that he really made his presence felt at the French club. As a teenager youngster he was highly rated and clubs like Real Madrid, Arsenal and Inter were already monitoring him back then as scouts often compared him to Kaka.
This season, he has been a permanent fixture in the Lyon first team and has scored seven goals and made nine assists in 24 starts (which includes some wonderful performances in the Europa League as well). The fact that he has made more appearances than someone like Yoann Gourcuff, speaks volumes about his ability. He is also expected to make his debut in the French national team sooner rather than later.
Grenier is a technically gifted player, who has played mostly as an attacking midfielder this season – although he can also play as a deep-lying playmaker. He is a good passer with wonderful vision and looks classy with the ball at his feet. His exploits from dead ball situations is well known and something which has earned him comparison with Juninho as mentioned earlier. Despite playing centrally, can has a habit of running down the channels (like Nasri) and has shown maturity beyond his age. The 22-year-old was part of the squad that won the UEFA U-19 Championship with France.
Although he is not the big name signing that the Arsenal fans were expecting this summer, he is certainly of the brightest prospect in the continent. Lyon, who lost key players like Bastos and Lloris in the last transfer window, will make try their best to hold on to their prized asset. It must also be noted that his current contract expires in 2014 and if he rejects a contract extension, Arsenal can have him at a bargain price. But the fact that the French club has managed to qualify for the Champions League, will help Lyon in convincing him otherwise. Grenier, who is also desperate to break into the French national team, will find it hard to get too many first team opportunities at Arsenal as they already have a plethora of attacking midfielders in the squad, hence personally for him staying back at Lyon would perhaps make more sense as well.