Newcastle United’s recruitment drive across the English Channel shows little sign of slowing, with Olivier Kemen the latest in a long line of French arrivals at St. James’ Park.
Although the Premier League outfit are yet to officially confirm the deal, sources in France have suggested the 17-year-old will join the Magpies July 1 from newly promoted Ligue 2 side Metz.
The youngster also fuelled speculation that a deal has been done by posting a picture on his Twitter account of himself and Newcastle’s development manager Peter Beardsley at the club’s stadium.
A French Under-19 international, the Cameroon-born Kemen began playing the game at the age of eight in the Paris suburb of La Garenne-Colombes.
Within six years, he had starred for Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt’s Under-14s in the regional elite championships and was catching the eye of a number of professional sides.
The offers soon started arriving for the sought-after youngster, and though Kemen had the option of moving south to join Lyon, he was quickly sold on the idea of joining Metz.
International recognition soon followed, in the shape of a call-up for the European Under-17 Championship qualifiers last year, and he is widely tipped for further honours.
Generally considered an attacking player, Kemen is comfortable in a number of positions and has been used on either flank by Metz, while his strength and athleticism have also seen him deployed as a supporting striker.
But his choice of Alex Song as his favourite player, coupled with his own obvious assets, suggests the teenager may well be planning for a future in the middle of the park.
Now seemingly on the brink of a move to the North East of England, a new set of challenges will present themselves.
But with over a dozen French-speaking players currently on the books at St. James’ Park, one hurdle that does not worry Kemen is the language barrier.
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