Norwich City transfer rumour: Metz centre back
- Credit: Archant
Mali international Boubakar Kouyate is a Premier League target for the newly-promoted Canaries.
The 24-year-old, who can also operate at right back and in defensive midfield, has caught the eye for Metz in his debut campaign and is now being tipped with a summer move.
Respected French sports brand, L'Equipe, claimed on Friday night both Norwich and Southampton are eyeing the £4.5m rated powerhouse Ligue 1 defender, with Italian duo AS Roma and Atalanta monitoring his situation.
Kouyate has made 22 appearances for Metz this season - who host Champions League hopefuls Paris Saint-Germain in the domestic league later on Saturday - and picked up nine yellow cards in the process.
The former Sporting youth prospect is reportedly under contract until 2024, following his move from second tier Troyes, with L'Equipe quoting Metz boss Frédéric Antonetti saying his club is ready to play hard ball with interest in their top talent.
"There is a world between thinking of being in high demand and being the subject of real concrete offers," he said. "I am the one who sets the prices. And the sums required will be very, very high.
"Our workforce has great potential and we are not salespeople. Everyone knows me and knows that I will be uncompromising with regard to the work done by the whole club to advance the players."
French football is facing an uncertain financial future with the collapse earlier this year of a reported €3.25bn broadcasting deal, following on from the impact of the pandemic on revenue streams.
Norwich head coach Daniel Farke confirmed ahead of the Championship trip to QPR Burnley loanee Ben Gibson will complete a permanent move in July, after his successful season long stint.
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But City continue to be linked with central defensive reinforcements. Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann are the only other senior centre backs in favour. Irish teenager Andrew Omobamidele has grabbed his chance for a late season run, while another youngster, Akin Famewo, is on loan at Charlton.
Any prospective overseas targets will have to meet the criteria to qualify for a work permit, under the post-Brexit regulations in place regarding recruiting players from continental Europe.