With Mark Hughes set to spend big on AS Monaco goalscorer Emmanuel Riviere, Jack Beresford finds out a little bit more about the Ligue 1 striker
AS Monaco may boast the likes of Radamel Falcao and Dimitar Berbatov, but one striker that has threatened to outshine them both this term could be about to depart the club.
Emmanuel Riviere may not be a big name to Premier League fans, but he could be set for a big money move to England, amid reports that Stoke City are set to seal an £8 million deal to land the forward.
But who is this precocious talent and what does he want with the Potters? Jack Beresford offers up some insight.
1. The Discovery
Emmanuel Riviere’s big break came during the an under-14 national football tournament, which took place at the legendary Clairefontaine academy in France.
Playing for his local Martinique team of Espoir Sainte-Luce, the forward was scouted by Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Lyonnais and Saint Etienne during the competition, with each of the three expressing an interest in signing the youngster.
In the end Riviere opted for Saint Etienne, citing their history of success as the driving factor behind his choice.
2. The Mentor
Interestingly Riviere counts once forgotten Premier League striker as a major mentor and influence on his early career – Frederic Piquionne.
The former Portsmouth, West Ham United and Doncaster Rovers forward was on the books at Saint Etienne when Riviere first broke through at the club. Piquionne formed a bond with the youngster thanks in no small part to the fact that the pair both came from Martinique, helping the emerging forward earn his first professional contract.
3. The Money
The 24-year-old forward may not be the most prolific striker in Ligue 1 but he has nevertheless commanded several substantial transfer fees to date.
In 2011 Toulouse paid €6 million to prise the forward away from Saint Etienne, the club where he started his football career. Two years later, Riviere was on the move again, joining then Ligue 2 side AS Monaco €4 million.
4. The Goals
Riviere enjoyed a breakthrough season with AS Monaco in Ligue 1 this term, scoring on the Principality club’s first game back in a top-flight – a 2-0 victory over Bordeaux – and eight days later grabbing a first-ever hat-trick against Montpellier during a 4-1 win.
Another notable highlight came later in the season, when the 24-year-old found the net with the decisive goal against Olympique Marseille.
5. The Dream
The youngster feels a special affinity for one Premier League club. "England is my dream since I was a kid," he said in an interview earlier this season. "I was dreaming of Arsenal."
"You have to believe and never let go. I'm good at Monaco today, I have three years left on my contract," he added. "There will surely be reinforcements this summer."
Stoke City fans, you have been warned.