Relegation battle 18 months after teen starlet rejected Arsenal, Everton and Spurs

Arsenal V Montpellier

M'Baye Niang has joined struggling Ligue 1 outfit Montpellier on loan until the end of the season.

Last summer a transfer war waged on for the services of French starlet M’Baye Niang of Caen. Considered the hottest talent in France - he had made his debut for Caen in 2011 - aged 16 - and had attracted attention across Europe.

That interest was of course present in England - with a vast array of teams said to be keen in his services.

Arsenal were linked with a move for the player, as were Tottenham Hotspur. Everton were even said to have actually signed him for £2 million.

But in the end nothing came to fruition - instead Niang moved to AC Milan.

He joined the Rossoneri for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £2 million in August of last year, but his time in Serie A has been chequered to say the least.

He was banned from the French national team after clubbing before a crucial game for the under-21’s, banned from driving after being caught without appropriate licensing and not making as big an impression as he would have hoped at the club.

In his 18 months in Milan he has scored just the one goal - against Reggina in December last year and he now faces an entirely new challenge.

He has begun training with Montpellier - as he will complete a loan deal to the club on January 1st.

Montpellier - who won the Ligue 1 title with the likes of Olivier Giroud, Younes Belhanda and Mapou Yanga Mbiwa among the team back in 2011-12 - are currently one place outside the relegation zone in Ligue 1.

Niang is therefore tasked with delivering salvation to the Montpellier fans - just 18 months after deciding that England was not for him.

The ironic thing is, if he had joined Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham or Chelsea, another team interested in his services, he would probably be playing regularly right now.

image: © wonker

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