ARSENAL are reportedly in a transfer battle with rivals Tottenham for Rennes prodigy Lesley Ugochukwu – dubbed the next Patrick Vieira.
The French midfielder turns 18 today but is already making waves with his performances.
According to L’Equipe, enemies from north London have been scrutinizing him in recent weeks.
And both teams could try to pounce on summer deals.
Arsenal have Thomas Partey as their main defensive midfielder with Albert Sambi Lokonga – but Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny could both leave this summer.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is the Spurs captain, while Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Rodrigo Bentancur and Oliver Skipp can all play there – Tanguy Ndombele is on loan.
Borussia Dortmund are also following the development of Ugochukwu, who is under contract at Roazhon Park until 2024.
Ugochukwu’s best position is holding midfield, and his 6ft 2in frame and playing style have drawn comparisons to Highbury hero Vieira.
Born on this day in 2004 in Rennes, the youngster joined the club’s academy back in 2012.
Rising through the ranks, he made his senior debut in April 2021 when he came on for Steven Nzonzi.
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He has made 17 appearances in Ligue 1 and Europa Conference League this season.
Most of them were substitutes, including when he scored his only senior goal in a 5-0 win over Saint-Etienne in December.
However, the teenager missed nearly two months this year with an ankle injury.
But he returned to the bench for the second leg against Leicester last week and was given 11 minutes on Sunday as Rennes beat Metz 6-1.
Ugochukwu, the nephew of former Rennes and Nigeria centre-back Onyekachi Apam, made his France U18 debut last year.
He has seven caps with one goal.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4982037/arsenal-transfer-spurs-rennes-lesley-ugochukwu-vieira/ Arsenal in transfer battle with Spurs for Rennes prodigy Lesley Ugochukwu, whom Gunners see as ‘the next Patrick Vieira’