Manchester United are in pole position to sign Marseille ace Boubacar Kamara, according to reports.
Roma boss Jose Mourinho is also believed to be interested in the defensive midfielder, 22, but is struggling to match United’s offer.
And Mourinho knows all about the Premier League side’s financial power after managing them for two-and-a-half years before his sacking in December 2018.
Kamara, who can also be deployed at centre-back, is one of the best youngsters in French football after breaking into Marseille’s first team during the 2018-19 campaign.
He’s featured 15 times in Ligue 1 this term – scoring once – to help the French outfit reach third in the table at the halfway stage.
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Marseille are also still in Europe – although they’ve been transferred to the Europa Conference League – and the French Cup.
Kamara has represented France at U21 level and has Champions League experience.
“This kid is a phenomenon,” former Marseille defender Rolando told RMC Sport in May 2020 when discussing Kamara.
“When he started training with us, he was 15 years old. And from day one I said, ‘No, but this little one is going to be a great player.’
“He’s the kind of central defender I like. He is full of qualities and, above all, he works, he listens. It is out of the ordinary.”
Kamara’s impressive performances have reportedly led to many top European sides taking an interest in his services, including Man Utd and Roma.
The talent is out of contract at the end of the season and is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs across Europe from January.
If Kamara was to agree such a deal, he would leave Marseille on a free transfer in the summer.
But, according to La Repubblica via Forza Roma, Roma will try to sign Kamara in January and give his current employers a transfer fee.
That would deny Man Utd the chance to agree a pre-contract agreement with the youth international, although there are plenty of problems in Roma’s alleged plan.
Kamara is thought to be aware of the English club’s interest and knows they can offer him a better contract, not to mention the prospect of playing at Old Trafford.
Man Utd could also out bid Roma in January, if either of the two giants make an offer.
Many believe the Red Devils should’ve signed a defensive midfielder last summer instead of buying forwards Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
West Ham ace Declan Rice, 22, continues to be linked with a £100million move to Old Trafford at the end of the season.
Other candidates include RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara, 23, Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, 18, and Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni, 21.
“I go back to the summer when they made their signings – I didn’t think they needed a winger and I didn’t think they needed a striker,” former Premier League star Trevor Sinclair told talkSPORT in November.
“I said they needed a right-back and a holding midfielder. Declan Rice, if he’s playing with Scott McTominay or Fred, the difference in performance in that Man United team would be vast, vastly different.”