Lens are demanding £22 million for Loic Bade as Premier League trio Leeds United, Liverpool and Arsenal do battle for the highly rated Ligue 1 defender, as reported by Ouest France.
Tall, technically gifted and overflowing with potential, it doesn’t take a genius to work out why 21-year-old Bade has been compared to a World Cup-winning centre-back who also honed his talents at Lens.
But while Real Madrid paid just £7 million to sign a teenage Raphael Varane a decade ago, you can forget about Bade moving on for a similar bargain fee.
Lens, who surprisingly finished seventh during their first season back in Ligue 1 last season, have already rejected an £11 bid from top-flight rivals Rennes.
The Northeners want closer to £22 million for a man they snapped up from Le Havre’s fabled production line in 2019.
Can Arsenal beat Leeds and Liverpool to Bade?
Last week, Calciomercato reported Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are keen on the 6ft 3in centre-back, although it remains to be seen how Bade feels about a move to the Premier League giants.
William Saliba’s miserable Gunners career may act as a cautionary tale for another exciting France-based defender.
According to Le10 Sport, Bade has played his way on to the radar of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool too. The Reds seem unceasing in their pursuit of yet another centre-back.
However, Marcelo Bielsa could turn out to be the ideal tutor for a defender who, in his inaugural Ligue 1 campaign, didn’t look out of place for a single second (FootMercato).
Interestingly, Ouest France believes Rennes will turn to Wolverhampton Wanderers favourite Romain Saiss if they fail to snare Bade in the summer transfer window.