Arsenal and Man United face competition from major sides for Ligue 1 star

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Valencia have joined the hunt for Cameroon international defender Nicolas N’Koulou, according to reports in France, and are keeping close tabs on the centre-back.

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The 25-year-old has previously attracted considerable interest from the Premier League, with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United [both Le 10 Sport] and Newcastle [the Daily Mail via What Culture] being previously linked to the cultured defender.

La Provence reported earlier in the year that West Ham United were also believed to be keen on the former AS Monaco man.

However, ahead of the summer transfer window, interest in the stopper has increased considerably.

Le 10 Sport report that Olympique Lyonnais are also keen on the defender, while Napoli remain interested in his services. L’Equipe [via Le 10 Sport] have revealed Valencia’s desire to recruit the player.

The defender has only one year left on his contract, and while OM are already looking like losing many of their key stars this summer, they may also decide to cash in on the Central African, particularly if they can prompt a bidding war for the player.

The likes of Giannelli Imbula [Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur via the Mirror], Florian Thauvin [Spurs via Goal], Rod Fanni [Liverpool via the Metro] and Andre-Pierre Gignac [West Ham United via the Mirror] have all been linked to the exit door.

Tottenham are also vying with AS Roma for out-of-contract Andre Ayew [via Foot Mercato]

The Phoceens—who missed out on Champions League football following a late-season slump—have already seen Jeremy Morel leave the club to OL [via Sports Mole].

The French giants are now keen on bringing N’Koulou to the Stade Gerland, with president Jean-Michel Aulas openly outlining his admiration for the player.

“We have appreciated him for some time,” he began, as reported by Le 10 Sport.

“Nicolas has succeeded with a fantastic season, the relationship [he could have] with Sam [Franco-Cameroonian defender Umtiti] would be very interesting.”

Marseille would surely prefer to sell to the Premier League, or one of N’Koulou’s other foreign suitors, rather than see him leave to Ligue 1 rivals Lyon.

N’Koulou endured an injury-hit campaign at the Stade Velodrome, managing just 24 appearances in Ligue 1 and didn’t feature between the end of December and the middle of April.

He represented Cameroon at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as the Indomitable Lions were eliminated in the group stage.