Arsenal linked to sensational Lazio wonderkid, ex-Barcelona

SS Lazio fans

Arsenal have become the latest team to be linked to Lazio's Keita Balde Diao.

Italian football's newest sensation has become the latest name to be linked with a summer move to Arsenal.

Keita Balde Diao turns 19 in March, but already possesses quite a reputation, good and bad.

The forward was infamously ditched by Barcelona in 2011, where he had been since 2004 progressing through the ranks, before upsetting the club hierarchy with his reputation as a practical joker.

A jape which saw him put ice cubes in a teammate's bed was seen as a last straw, and he was sent on his way.

He is immensely talented, bagging 47 goals in a season on loan at a Qatari youth side, and is beginning to show his potential in Serie A.

At Lazio it hasn't been simple, suspended for a training ground row with a teammate in December, but now his talent is gaining attention.

Playing largely as a left winger, Keita has scored three goals in nine starts, and has five assists to his name this season too.

It was his display against Chievo a fortnight ago which displayed his star quality, scoring one and providing an assist, earning a standing ovation as he was subbed off late on.

Liverpool and Manchester City have been linked with him in recent days, and now Arsenal are in the hunt.

Italian website report Arsenal have joined the chase for the exciting talent, whose contract at Lazio lasts until 2017.

They add Arsene Wenger has not yet made a bid or is not in a hurry to do so, but is monitoring the player ahead of the summer.

Keita is a forward who comes with a huge up-side if his mischievous streak can be managed, and as a natural left-sided player he would be a good addition for Arsenal, an alternative to Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski.

Lazio are going to be unlikely to want to sell such an exciting talent, so soon after upsetting their own fans by permitting Hernanes to join Inter Milan on deadline day.

The better Keita's season becomes though, the more pressure they may find themselves under. Clearly he is a name to watch.

Check him out in action below:

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