'This week I have had Arsene Wenger on the phone twice'

Arsenal's interest in French midfielder Florian Thauvin has been confirmed, but they face a battle with Newcastle for the player.

If you haven't heard of Florian Thauvin yet, you are about to. Despite his club trying to hold onto him until the summer, there is a good chance his name will feature prominently leading up to deadline day.

Two of England's biggest clubs are chasing the 20-year-old Frenchman, who plays for Bastia in Ligue One - Both Newcastle and Arsenal showing an interest.

The situation has developed over the weekend, with club chairman Pierre-Marie Geronimi declaring he had rejected an offer from Newcastle for the player.

Newcastle have already added Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara to their squad this January - five of Ligue One's most talented performers.

Geronimi said: "Florian Thauvin has been the object of just one concrete offer so far, from Newcastle, for €3million (£2.6m), but we refused it. However, he didn't want to prolong his contract with Bastia, but he will stay until the end of the season.

"This week I have had Arsene Wenger on the phone twice. He expressed his interest in the player to us, but it has not gone beyond that."

Newcastle and Arsenal both may tempt the club to try and cash in sooner; now Thauvin has told the club he intends on leaving and will not sign a new contract, it makes sense to cash in while they can.

The drawback of Bastia selling him this late on is whether they can find a replacement to last until the end of the season. The right price to secure Thauvin's signature now is likely between £5-6 million.

Thauvin is an attacking midfielder who likes to play through the centre, but can also fill in wide right or left. This season in 19 Ligue One appearances he has three goals and two assists, and is a France under-20 international.

At Newcastle he would be a promising back-up for Yohan Cabaye, while at Arsenal he would be a sure upgrade from Andrei Arshavin, if give the Gunners greater flexibility going forward, even a young understudy for Santi Cazorla.

Would you like to see your club buy Thauvin? Is he a priority?

image: © korobukkuru

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