Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing French youngster Loic Bade from RC Lens but face competition from AC Milan among other clubs.
According to a report from Calciomercato, Premier League bigwigs Arsenal are plotting a raid on Ligue 1 outfit RC Lens for 21-year-old defender Loic Bade in the summer transfer window. However, they are set to face competition from Serie A giants AC Milan while the likes of Sevilla and Rennes are also interested.
Bade came through the ranks at Paris FC before switching to the Le Havre youth setup. Having managed seven senior appearances for the club, the centre-back signed for Lens last summer and has immediately established himself as a mainstay at the heart of the defence. Indeed, the 21-year-old has not missed a single Ligue 1 game this term when he has been available for selection.
Standing at 1.91m tall, Bade can be an imposing presence at the back and backs it up with deceptive ground speed and sharp ball-playing abilities and has shown the capability to come out on top during one-on-one situations. His rapid rise in stature over the past year since joining Lens has not gone unnoticed, with AC Milan tracking him from January earlier this year at a time when Liverpool had also shown interest.
For Milan, the 21-year-old is seen as an alternative to on-loan Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori in case they are unable to match the Blues’ asking price for the Englishman. In addition to that, there have been rumblings about the future of club captain Alessio Romagnoli, with the Italian being linked with the likes of Barcelona, leaving the Rossoneri in need of a new centre-back ahead of next season, making Bade a viable target.
However, now Milan have been joined by Premier League giants Arsenal in the chase to sign Bade from Lens. The Gunners have a packed central defensive department as things stand with the likes of David Luiz, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, along with Calum Chambers, although he has been used at right-back of late by Mikel Arteta.
In addition to these, Arsenal also have players such as William Saliba and Konstantinos Mavropanos out on loan who will be back at the club when the season is over. However, as things stand, the loanees seemingly do not feature in Arteta’s plans while Luiz is also out of contract at the end of the current season. Thus, securing a new centre-back would not be the worst idea from Arsenal’s point of view.
To that end, the north Londoners have recently been linked with Manchester United target Pau Torres while Bade has also emerged as an option for Arsenal now, as per the aforementioned report. The 21-year-old, however, still has two years left on his current contract with Lens and has admitted that he is no hurry to leave the Ligue 1 club at the moment.
So, it will be interesting to see if either of Arsenal or Milan do make an attempt to secure the transfer of Bade this summer or pursue alternate targets.