Alban Lafont

Arsenal trail Italian giants in race for prodigious young goalkeeper

As per a report from French outlet L’Equipe this morning, Arsenal have fallen behind Serie A outfit Napoli in the race for highly-regarded Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont.

Talented youngster

Despite having only turned 19 in January, Lafont has already made 86 appearances for Toulouse in the French top-flight, having broken into the club’s first-team at just 16 years of age during the 2015/16 season.

The French U20 international is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in Ligue 1, with many pundits having already tipped the commanding youngster as a future Les Bleus’ successor to long-standing no. 1 Hugo Lloris.

North London bound?

Lafont’s talents are known to have alerted a number of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Premier League outfit Arsenal the side most regularly linked with a bid for his services.

The board at the Emirates have long been rumoured to be on the lookout for goalkeeping reinforcements, with first-choice shot-stopper Petr Cech having come in for heavy criticism both this season and last for his increasingly-disappointing performances.

‘A real effect on me’

Speaking in an interview with French outlet RMC last month, Lafont seemed to suggest that the interest on the part of the Gunners is very much mutual, explaining:

‘I like Arsenal a lot. I have followed them since I was little.’

‘It was when [Robin] van Persie was playing, I liked his style.’

‘That was when Arsenal had a real effect on me.’

In-demand

However, as per the aforementioned report from L’Equipe today, Arsenal are far from the only club expressing an interest in a move for Lafont, with AS Roma, Watford, Newcastle, Real Madrid and Napoli also keen on the gifted teen.

And it is the latter of these sides who are said to hold a clear lead in the race for the Toulouse star’s services, with the Partenopei reportedly ready to offer 10 million Euro plus bonuses for the man that they view as the long-term replacement for Pepe Reina at the Stadio San Paolo.

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