Arsenal legend tells £35m Chelsea target to stay put in January

FC Porto Trophy Celebration

Arsenal legend Robert Pires has backed Chelsea and Manchester United target Eliaquim Mangala to be a Premier League success.

Eliaquim Mangala is one of the more regular names to be linked with a Premier League switch, which comes with the territory of starring for Portuguese champions Porto.

Mangala is a centre-back who has been suggested as a possible Manchester United target previously,  but in recent months and weeks it is Chelsea who have emerged as frontrunners for his signature.

The Metro even reported this week comments from Porto president Pinto da Costa, "I see his name linked with clubs all the time in the media, he has a release clause and clubs know that, but if a bid arrives that attracts us then we could sell." 

The price they would settle for is believed to be around £30-35 million with his release clause even higher.

The Frenchman signed for Porto after a successful spell with Standard Liege in Belgium, and in Portugal he has become a full French international.

He has been attracting praise in the French media, with Arsenal 'Invincible', Robert Pires among his fans.

Pires backed Mangala for a move at the end of the season to continue his progression, citing either the Premier League or La Liga as destinations, citing his qualities, but has told him to stay put until next summer.

He said: "The most important goal for him is to continue to play at Porto, a big club that is always present in the Champions League.

"If he came to World Cup, surely that would benefit from him in terms of evolution and learning. After that the Spanish league or English would be ideal for those who, like him, need to continue to progress and move up a few more levels.

"Players need to know and have other experiences to grow and Porto is known for knowing how and when to make these businesses, which then provide a great future and a great career to players.

"I've seen him play several times and of course he can think about fighting for a place among the members of the French team. He has the physical attributes and his interventions are effective, does not go unnoticed on the pitch."

Mangala is still just 22-years-old, with the centre-back a near ever-present for Porto this season, Pires' reasoning that he should give it until the end of the season until making a big move is of course sound.

He has already shown himself capable of adapting to new football cultures however, and with his ability not in question, there is nothing to say he would not be able to make an instant impact at a club like Chelsea, if they decided to bring him in and shake up their centre-back options.

image: © dioxido

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