It was only a matter of time really, but reports from France this week suggested that Arsenal sent scouts to the Stade Gerland last Thursday to watch Lyon’s newest superstar – 21-year-old Nabil Fekir – and they would have been impressed with what they saw.
Fekir made his first-team debut last season, but he has really made his name during the current campaign, quickly becoming an important part of the Lyon attack. Last Thursday it was Fekir who supplied a key assist as Lyon squeezed past Stade de Reims 2-1.
That takes his tally for the season up to two, but throw in the six goals and his jinking, driving runs and you have one very exciting prospect.
Lyon started this season by winning their opening game against Rennes, but went on to lose the next three league matches, not to mention being knocked out of the Europa League. It was the worst ever start to a season in the club’s history.
All three of those defeats came after Fekir picked up a shoulder injury in the 2-0 win over Rennes. Playing in the No.10 role at the head of Hubert Fournier’s midfield diamond, the 21-year-old had looked like the most dangerous player on the pitch that day, and his presence was definitely missed.
Making his return to the first team in the 2-1 win over Monaco, Fekir and Lyon would go on to remain unbeaten in the next nine games the attacking midfielder played, including the 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes and the 1-0 victory over Marseille.
Fekir was devastating in the 3-0 crushing of Lille, he scored doubles against Lorient and Guingamp and outside of Alexandre Lacazette, he has been one of Lyon’s key attacking players this season.
Lyon’s reputation for growing and creating excellent young players was always going to mean that it wouldn’t take long for the biggest clubs in Europe to take notice.
There are a few players that Arsenal’s scouts could have been monitoring that evening against Reims, but no matter if the initial target was Lacazette or Maxime Gonalons, Fekir would have caught the eye.
If Wenger does fancy another attacking option this winter, he could do a lot worse in bringing this exciting young talent to the Emirates next month.