There is a long way to go until the summer transfer window swings open, but Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town should already be keeping a keen eye on events in Ligue 1.
Because it is understood that, despite St Etienne’s best efforts to keep Jonathan Bamba at the Stade Geoffrey Guichard, the highly-rated winger will leave at the end of the season when his contract expires.
Bamba is asking for far higher wages than Les Verts are willing to pay. And L’Equipe (8 February, page 6) states that St Etienne have lost all hope of obtaining a transfer fee for their prize asset.
The French publication reports that Newcastle United have been watching the France under-21 international for some time and it is understood that they are still very interested.
And Le 10 Sport also reported interest from Huddersfield Town. The likelihood is that neither club made a move for Bamba during the January transfer window as it has seemed inevitable for some time that he will be available on a free in the summer anyway.
The 21-year-old winger, who can play anywhere across the front line, has an impressive six goals in 17 Ligue 1 games this season and has been a rare bright spark in a dismal campaign for St Etienne.
He would offer pace, versatility and a goal threat to Newcastle and Huddersfield sides who could do with each of those attributes right now as they aim to avoid relegation.
A move to England could be on the cards in the summer then. But maybe the Premier League strugglers should have just paid to bring Bamba across the Channel earlier.