Lyon sensation Nabil Fekir is the latest attacking midfielder linked with Barcelona as the La Liga leaders continue looking for alternatives to Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.
Fekir has emerged as one of the most sought-after players around Europe after impressing in Ligue 1 during the opening part of the current season, having scored 12 goals in 15 appearances.
Zinedine Zidane has publicly expressed his admiration for the 24-year-old star in the past and last week reports in France claimed that the Real boss was considering making a move to lure his compatriot to the Champions League winners.
Sport points out that Real scouts are closely monitoring his development but that Arsenal could be Barcelona’s main competitor to sign Fekir ahead of the upcoming January window.
The Spanish publication says that Arsenal would have to make a concrete offer to sign the Ligue 1 sensation amid the possibility of losing Alexis Sanchez in the upcoming market.
Coutinho remains Barcelona’s top priority but the Catalans have already made an approach to sound out Fekir’s potential price and the player’s willingness to make the move to the Nou Camp amid the difficulties in signing the Liverpool ace.
Earlier this week Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas suggested to SFR Sport that the Ligue 1 side do not plan to cash in on with the France international at any price.
“Of course, and nothing says he’ll leave at the end of the season,” Aulas said when asked if Fekir would remain at the Ligue 1 side beyond January.
“He’s under contract, he’s happy in Lyon. He’s enjoying a period of success football-wise, but also in terms of management as he’s captain of an Olympique Lyonnais that has been able to get itself back on track, and it’s also thanks to him”
“Of course, he has a very good chance of being [at] Lyonnais. He’s a symbol. In between times, there will be the World Cup. If France is in the final, which I hope for, and Nabil scores the goal that makes France world champions, of course he’ll get offers. But that said, we’re going to do everything for Nabil to stay and I think he wants to stay.”
Sport points out that Aulas is a tough negotiator but he could be tempted to part ways with Fekir for the right-price as he did in the past when he sold Samuel Umtiti to Barcelona or Alexandre Lacazette to Arsenal.
The Spanish publication understand that luring Fekir away from the Ligue 1 side would cost Barcelona in excess of €50m (£44.7m, $59m) – more than the double the €25m they paid to sign Umtiti from Lyon in the summer of 2016.