Arsenal and Manchester United are set to face competition from La Liga giants Real Madrid for the signature of highly-rated French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia according to Spanish publication AS [via Goal].
The 22-year-old reportedly has a €35 million-release clause in his contract and his current club, AS Monaco, have informed any potential suitors that they will not do business for anything less [via tuttomercatoweb].
With news of AC Milan registering an interest, it would appear Los Blancos have followed suit, as new manager Rafael Benitez looks to replace the departing Sami Khedira in the engine room next season.
The German international has agreed to join Serie A Champions Juventus on a free transfer after rejecting a new deal at the Santiago Bernabeu and his departure is sure to leave a huge gap in midfield.
His value to the side was evident during his absence in Real Madrid’s defeat in the Champions League semi-final last month; Real lacked balance with Toni Kroos being partnered in midfield by two attack-minded players in Isco and James Rodriguez.
With the latter pair constantly pushing forward, it left Kroos isolated and he was overrun by Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio in the middle of the park. This failing ultimately cost the side a place in the final.
The addition of Kondogbia would prevent such overwhelming midfield domination from happening next year, as the Frenchman has shown on numerous occasions his fantastic defensive awareness as he is able to break up play and launch counter-attacks, which plays directly into Benitez’s favoured tactical set-up.
News of Madrid’s apparent interest is sure to disappoint Arsenal and Manchester United, who have both been linked with a move for the 21-year-old this summer [via Daily Star Sport].
Both are in desperate need of a tough-tackling midfielder next year if they are to have any chance of challenging for the Premier League title and Kondogbia appears to have the necessary tools slot in to either team with relative ease.
His game is not just solely based on protecting the back four as he has shown he’s more than capable of picking out long-range passes and also has a eye for goal as the Gunners can attest to, given that he opened the scoring for Monaco in the last-16 European tie at the Emirates Stadium back in February.
However, with the European Championships on home soil next summer, it might be wise for Kondogbia to remain in Ligue 1 to avoid potentially jeopardising a call-up to the squad.