Celtic are reportedly battling Premier League duo Newcastle United and Leicester City for Le Mans winger Stephane Diarra.
Le Mans president Thierry Gomez has been on the charm offensive this weekend as he aims to keep Celtic, Newcastle United and Leicester City target Stephane Diarra in Ligue 2, according to reports in France.
At the age of 21, a winger who grew up idolising Neymar is starting to make a name for himself in his own right in French football.
The electrifying Diarra has contributed four goals and three assists for Le Mans this season with his displays catching the eye of Celtic, who are battling Newcastle and Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester for his signature (L’Equipe).
But Gomez is hardly giving up the ghost when it comes to Diarra’s future.
The marketing guru was at the helm of Troyes when future World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi was rising through the ranks and he hopes that Diarra takes a leaf out of the Juventus star’s book when deciding whether or not to make the move across the channel.
“I cannot tell you that he is not coveted (by interested clubs). It’s an open secret,” Diarra told MaLigue2.
“The idea is to build a career for (Diarra). I gave him the example of Blaise Matuidi who was at Troyes when I was president and who had chosen to stay for one more year.
“It is not impossible that (Diarra) stays with us next season. It is also up to him to decide. I think Le Mans can be a good club for him to build a career. Today, he is under contract with us.”
Maybe Gomez has a point. Celtic have a whole host of exciting wide players in their ranks and, with the likes of Maryan Shved, Lewis Morgan and Daniel Arzani all struggling to force their way into the starting XI, what chance would Diarra have of playing regular first-team football in green and white?
The same can be said of Newcastle and Leicester, who likely see Diarra as a squad rotation player for the time being.