Date: 26th April 2019 at 6:29pm
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L’Equipe, via Sport Witness, have linked us with a move for LOSC Lille’s Boubakary Soumare, but the French publication noted in their Friday edition that Marcel Brands will face a tough test to land the youth international.

Soumare is not a regular for Les Dogues under Gerard Lopez, but the Ligue 1 outfit are reluctant to part ways with the French U21 star, having signed him in 2017 upon his release from Paris Saint-Germain.

Instead, the Stade Pierre-Mauroy natives are intent on seeing Soumare see out another year of his £2,000-a-week contract, which does not expire until 2022, even though both Manchester City and we are showing particular interest in his services, following Newcastle United and Watford doing similar in the winter.

The Tyneside and Black Country natives are both said to have seen offers for the U20 international knocked back in the mid-season window, as well as approaches from AS Monaco and Valencia in the summer.

The reason why Lille are so intent on retaining Soumare for, at least, another year is that they see the Noisy-le-Sec-born holding mid as the successor to Thiago Mendes, with the Brazilian expected to be on his way out the door when the season closes.

It would be a vast upgrade for Soumare to fill the boots of the Everton-linked Mendes, as the former PSG youth player has only started four league games for Lille since joining the club.