When a team boasts the kind of midfield talent that Leicester City can call upon, signing another player for the middle of the park might seem odd. However, with some ageing legs and the likely exit of a few stars – including increasing noise that FA Cup Final hero Youri Tielemans could be sold – there is a chance for a new player to arrive. That player is, according to reports, Boubakary Soumare. The 22-year-old has just played a starring role in winning the French Ligue 1 title for Lille OSC.
Having come through the Paris Saint-Germain ranks, the young midfielder quickly moved on to Lille and has been a star turn ever since. With a veterans reading of the game, Soumare offers a grit and a steel that should easily complement the Premier League. The player has long been linked to Brendan Rodgers, too, with some early links to the midfielder when he was still a PSG player and Rodgers was still manager of Glasgow Celtic.
However, it looks like he might get his man – and he could be the ideal pairing with Wilfried Ndidi. The player himself offers a wonderful opportunity, too, for Leicester to buy a player who has been linked with English football for a long, long time. Newcastle United tried in January 2020 and 2021 to make the signing happen, only to fail to interest the player. Leeds United also tried, but were unable to make a deal come to fruition.
Given he has won the title in France for the first time in a decade for Lille, though, Soumare might be ready to try out a new sporting project. That could arrive in the Midlands, with Leicester close to making the deal a reality.
How much will Boubakary Soumare cost?
The reports in England and in France reckon a fee of around £18m is going to be enough. Given Newcastle were believed to have struggled to land the player for a fee close to double that previously, that might come as a shock. However, contractual reasons alongside a fairness to a player who just helped the club achieve greatness could see the fee reduced.
Soumare, though, has also been linked with a return to PSG and a few clubs who made the UEFA Champions League. His own club, too, also qualified as a result of winning the Ligue 1 title. Most, though, believe that staying at Lille would be the most surprising choice for a player who has grown in attitude and in stature ever since he first made his debut.
Seen by most as the ideal choice for any Premier League club looking for a high-energy midfielder who can pass and tackle with ease, Soumare would fit in with the aggressive, pressing nature of a Rodgers team. Expect a move, then, to be confirmed in the near future as it is believed both the player and the two clubs involved feel comfortable with the progress of negotiations.