Arsenal have been hit by the news that Olympique Marseille are aiming to keep star player Nicolas N’Koulou, reports the Daily Express.
The 25-year-old has attracted the interest of the Gunners after impressing during Marseille’s ill fated tilt at the Ligue 1 title last season. He played 26 games in Marcelo Bielsa’s debut season as manager, helping them to challenge Lyon and PSG at the top before falling away in the second half of the campaign.
As a result of his performances on the pitch the French club’s president Vincent Labrune said: “We know how important he is for us. What he brings us on the pitch is more important than money in a transfer.”
However, it is yet to be seen if this puts the North London club off making an attempt to sign the defender.
It is surprising that the Emirates based outfit are interested in signing a new centre-back after Gabriel Paulista arrived just last January. They also have Calum Chambers, who joined last summer, as well as the more experienced Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
However, with manager Arsene Wenger telling Sky Sports that he is aiming for the Premier League title next season it could be that he wants as many options as possible in case injuries threaten to derail their attempts.
N’Koulou looks a player who could improve this Arsenal side, having earned a reputation as a fast and strong, physical kind of player, which would make him ideally suited to making the transition to the Premier League if he were to end up in England.
Still, it remains to be seen if Arsenal will continue their pursuit after Marseille seemingly slammed the door on any possibility of letting the Cameroon international leave.