Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to battle for the signature of highly rated AC Milan striker M’baye Ninag.Niang is currently on loan with French League 1 side Montpellier.
French website Le Sport 10 has reported today that the 19-year-old underwent a trial with the Gunners in 2012 having also reportedly caught the eye of their north London rivals and Everton before he opted to join AC Milan where he signed a five year contract.
During Milan’s tepid campaigns in recent years Niang became a marginal figure and returned to France on loan during the January transfer window, joining Montpellier where he immediately made his presence known with four goals in his first six appearances.
Niang joined Milan in the summer of 2012, but managed just one goal in 33 matches for the Serie A team in his 18 months and became a marginal figure at the San Siro.
However, whilst Montpellier are keen on signing Niang permanently they cannot afford Milan’s asking price and club president Louis Nicollin has admitted they probably won’t be able to acquire the teenager.
“We will meet with Milan to talk about Niang because he is too expensive,” Nicollin said.
But the combination of Milan’s asking price and the striker’s controversial history off the pitch has dissuaded Montpellier president Louis Nicollin from making the move permanent. French outlet Le Sport 10 suggest such developments could reignite Arsenal and Tottenham’s interest in the teenager they sought to sign less than two years ago.
Although a transfer fee is unlikely to be an issue for the Premier League giants, Niang’s chequered history could deter his suitors from taking a gamble on the France Under-21 international. As a 17-year-old, Niang was one of five French youngsters handed a one year ban from the national team at all levels after the group ditched a training camp to go clubbing in Paris ahead of a crucial Under-21 European Championship qualifier in 2012.
Another blow to his once burgeoning reputation came earlier this year when he was handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence after fleeing the scene of a car accident.
The Gunners have a history of buying up young, French talent and then developing them into top-class stars and this may appeal to Niang.
Tottenham meanwhile are just as desperate for support in attack and that would mean any new signing is likely to get plenty of game time.
AC Milan are planning total revamp of their side in the summer transfer window and Niang holds no place in their future plan. It is no doubt that the young Frenchman is highly talented and his current club can’t afford him. It is a realistic chance for both the North London clubs to get this controversial youngster with huge potential at affordable price.