Reports are emanating from France that Real Madridâ€™s newly appointed boss Jose Mourinho is set for a showdown with Arsene Wenger over the signature of Rennesâ€™ 20-year-old midfielder Yacine Brahimi.
Brahimi was also linked with a move to Manchester United earlier on this season but Sir Alex Ferguson has not pursued his earlier interest in the player.
Brahimi was earmarked as having the potential to be a top class player at 13 and was selected to train at Clairefontaine, Franceâ€™s prestigious centre for football excellence. The centre has produced players of the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Louis Saha, William Gallas and Thierry Henry.
Following his stint at Clairefontaine, he joined the youth ranks at Rennes where he was part of a team that won the Under-18 championship and the Coupe Gambardella. As a reward for his excellent performances he was awarded his first professional contract agreeing a three year deal.
His potential was well known in France, but it wasnâ€™t until the 2009 European Under-19 Football Championship that he came to the attention of the rest of Europe, especially the top clubs. Brahimi was the teamâ€™s top scorer with five goals and led them to the semi-finals where they were knocked out by England.
On returning to France, his club felt that his career would benefit from a loan move in order to gain experience at a higher level. A season long deal was reached with Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot. Last season Brahimi made a telling contribution. He played 38 games, scored eight goals and contributed two assists.
The 20-year-old can play on either flank or as a shadow striker. As would befit a youngster who has been groomed at Clairefontaine, his technical ability and reading of the game are excellent. He loves to dribble with the ball and beat opposing players.
Despite standing at 5ft 7inches he is strong and difficult to knock of the ball. He makes use of his low centre of gravity to shield the ball and turn defenders. However, being able to ride challenges in Franceâ€™s Ligue 2 is very different from the rough and tumble of English football.
Unsurprisingly, he is desperate to work with the Arsenal manager and his agent has stated that: â€œhe (Brahimi) is a massive fan of Arsene Wenger, and would love to work with him.â€ The agent has also admitted that Madrid have made contact regarding a move to the Bernabeu.
The fact that Real Madrid are after the Frenchmanâ€™s signature illustrates the high regard that he is held throughout Europe. But with Los Blacosâ€™ reputation for ruining promising players he is unlikely to end up in Madrid.
Brahimi is one of the best up and coming talents in Europe. However, with all that is on Wengerâ€™s plate at the moment will he be thinking about bring in another youngster to Arsenal to compete in a saturated attacking line up?
Nevertheless, this is a player who could set the Premier League alight in the future and for the small transfer fee that he would command must be worth the gamble.
Video evidence of Yacine Brahimi can be seen here.