Arsenal identify young midfielder as next Patrick Vieira but face competition from Spurs

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One player Arsenal has always struggled to replace has been club legend and former France international Patrick Vieira. However, according to recent reports, that could be set to change with the Gunners finally believing they have identified their old captain’s long-term successor.

That’s according to a recent report from French outlet L’Equipe, who claims Mikel Arteta is keen to sign Stade Rennes midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu.

Widely regarded, in the industry, as the of the hottest midfield talents in Europe, Rennes-born Ugochukwu is quickly becoming the centre of a transfer tug-of-war.

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Along with Arsenal, Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur are also rumoured to be interested in the teenager, who can play in several defensive positions, including filling in at centre-back.

Lesley Ugochukwu (right) in action for Stade Rennes.

Signing him may not be too complicated either.

The 18-year-old is under contract at Stade Rennes until 2024 and likely to prefer a huge move to the Premier League, particularly to a side competing in Europe, Ugochukwu could look to emulate former teammate Eduardo Camvinga, who left the club last summer in favour of a move to Real Madrid.

When it comes to the Gunners’ chances of signing the talented teenager, the club will feel they’re in a great position, largely due to Arteta’s ability to lure players to the club.

Speaking recently to CaughtOffside TV, journalist Freddie Paxton explained how agents have been left impressed by the Spaniard’s ability to convince transfer targets to ‘buy into’ Arsenal’s project.

“One of his great strengths and I know this from speaking to agents of players who have joined the club,” Paxton said. “Is that he [Arteta] knows how to sell the project.

“There have been many of players who have spoken to him and have been convinced by him to join the club over other, potentially more lucrative, offers.”

Since being promoted to the club’s senior first team last summer, Ugochukwu has gone on to feature in 20 matches, in all competitions, scoring once in the process.

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