Inside Football: Arsenal and Juventus to Battle for Kylian Mbappe

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportFebruary 23, 2017

Inside Football: Arsenal and Juventus to Battle for Kylian Mbappe

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    We all know the summer transfer window is the time of year when the best business happens, so it is no surprise clubs are already on the lookout for names that can transform their starting XI.

    The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Moussa Dembele are all exciting players who are likely to dominate headlines as they will be linked with high-profile moves in 2017.

    But Inside Football is the Bleacher Report column that takes a weekly look at the business we should keep an eye on.

    We start by highlighting the race to sign AS Monaco's teen sensation Kylian Mbappe. The column also focuses on the detail behind Wayne Rooney's proposed move to China and how Everton could sign highly rated Burnley defender Michael Keane.

Juventus Join Premier League Clubs Chasing Mbappe

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    Arsenal will face competition from Juventus when it comes to any potential deal for Monaco wonderkid Kylian Mbappe.

    The 18-year-old caught the imagination of fans all over the world with his dazzling display against Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday.

    However, a host of elite clubs have already watched him over the past six months after he emerged as Monaco's latest breakthrough star.

    Arsenal were on the scene early and we revealed in December that the north London club were already seriously considering an offer to sign him.

    Other Premier League clubs including Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have also been keeping an eye on Mbappe, though—and I am now told Italian giants Juventus have also been captivated by his displays and want to be involved in any battle for his signature.

    The significant detail involved in any future bidding war for Mbappe will be centred around his price tag as his French club realise they have a genuine world-class talent on their hands.

    B/R sources understand that the deal for Anthony Martial to Manchester United has helped set the bar for his valuation, meaning Mbappe will not be allowed to leave for less than an initial up-front fee of £36 million.

    The Martial deal included add-ons that could take his eventual fee to over £60 million—and that could also be the case with Mbappe as there is a feeling he could be an even bigger star.

    There will be no rush from Mbappe to leave Monaco. He is new to the first-team scene and is still not guaranteed starts in Ligue 1.

    It has been suggested to me that he may be advised to move to Serie A before testing himself in the Premier League, or even La Liga if genuine interest arises.

The Manchester Utd Link Between Rooney and China

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    The clock is ticking on Wayne Rooney's proposed move to China, with their transfer window set to close on Tuesday.

    The current reading of the situation is that he is more likely to remain at Manchester United for the rest of the season than opt for a £1 million-per-week switch to south-east Asia next week.

    However, that could change if former United chief executive Peter Kenyon is able to influence the situation.

    Kenyon acts as an adviser to Jiangsu Suning, one of three Chinese Super League clubs interested in signing Rooney as their star name. His role is to help grow global business, and there is little doubt that the capture of Manchester United's record goalscorer would put the club on football's world map.

    Rooney is not the only United player wanted in China, as Ashley Young's representatives remain in contact with Shandong Lenang.

    It is understood that the player has been keeping his options open, but manager Jose Mourinho would like him to see out the season at Old Trafford, due to his versatility which could be helpful during the run-in.

Everton Confident over Deal for Keane

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    Everton have moved ahead of Chelsea and Manchester United in the pursuit of central defender Michael Keane.

    The Burnley man was widely linked with a move away from Turf Moor before the January window but decided to bide his time before making a decision on the next step in his career.

    Sources close to the situation have now informed me that it is likely he will complete a switch to Goodison Park in the summer.

    There is a feeling inside the Keane camp that he would be better off with a move to a progressive Premier League outfit at this stage. He is keen to ensure he gets regular first-team football and also likes the prospect of continuing to improve at a club where other players have similar career motivation.

    He does want to join a big club one day but feels this may not be the right moment.

    Keane, 24, rose through the ranks at Manchester United and it is certainly a possibility he will one day return.

    Everton are on the lookout for a new centre-back and feel Keane is a more realistic target than their other main option, Virgil van Dijk.

PSG Failed with Move for Mitrovic

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    Paris Saint-Germain have not had a good month in terms of English-based transfer targets.

    I can reveal that the French giants failed in a bid to sign Aleksandar Mitrovic from Newcastle United in January. Their enquiry fell on deaf ears as club officials did not want him to leave Tyneside midway through the season.

    The Magpies will eventually think about letting the 22-year-old move on, but only if they recoup the £13 million spent on him in 2015.

    On the back of that setback, PSG received the news that Adam Lallana has committed his future to Liverpool.

    Director of football Patrick Kluivert is an admirer of the England international and was hopeful of an offer to tempt him away from Anfield.

    The new long-term deal signed on Wednesday ends any chance of that happening.

Premier League Rivals Battle for Sessegnon Brothers

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    Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are likely to become embroiled in a battle to sign young Fulham star Ryan Sessegnon and his twin brother, Steven.

    The 16-year-old pair have developed within the Motspur Park Academy, and left-back Ryan is already being tipped as a future England international following an impressive breakthrough season.

    But Steven, who can play in defence or midfield, is also a great prospect, and Tottenham are the club who have been looking most closely into the possibility of a deal to sign both players.

    I am now told that Chelsea are also eyeing the situation and will make their move if it becomes apparent they could be available.

    A host of other top-flight teams, including Manchester City, have Ryan on their radar. He is the player making waves right now, but some insiders at Craven Cottage believe his brother could be even better.

Kurt Zouma Available on Loan?

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    Keep an eye on Kurt Zouma's situation at Chelsea between now and the summer.

    The central defender is not under immediate threat of being moved on, but I am told there is a possibility he will be allowed out on loan next season.

    Zouma has returned to action recently following a serious knee injury but there remains some concern about whether he is going to become a regular part of Antonio Conte's back line, according to Chelsea sources I have spoken to.

    In the January window, Conte decided against the idea of making the 22-year-old available on loan, instead giving him the opportunity to rebuild his confidence and form with Chelsea.

    But there seems to be some doubt as to whether he will remain part of the setup, so it is worth watching his game time between now and the end of the campaign.

    If he is regularly on the bench, it could be that Zouma soon looks for a temporary new home.