February 1, 2023

Premier League leaders Arsenal like Vitoria Guimaraes midfielder Ibrahima Bamba and, according to Italian publication TuttoSalernitana, a deal could be done for as little as just £5 million.

That is presuming, of course, that there will be no ‘Premier League tax’ lumped onto the bill. You know how it goes. A team from England enters the running for an exciting young talent and suddenly the price-tag shoots up like a magical beanstalk after a morning downpour.

Salernitana, sitting mid-table in Italy’s Serie A, are reportedly being quoted a fee in the region of £5 million for Bamba. What’s the betting that, if or when Arsenal step up their interest, the Italy-born 20-year-old suddenly becomes that bit more expensive?

According to The Mirror, Arsenal have joined the likes of Valencia and a transitional Atalanta side in expressing their interest in Bamba; called up to a training camp by Italy coach Roberto Mancini on the back of some eye-catching performances over in Portugal.

Bamba signed a new deal with Vitoria recently. One which includes a £26 million release clause. Vitoria, reportedly, could sell for a damn sight less. Although interest from the likes of Arsenal, PSG and Atalanta risks creating a bidding war.

ARSENAL BATTLING ATALANTA AND PSG FOR IBRAHIMA BAMBA OF VITORIA GUIMARAES

“It gives me great pleasure to see 20-year-olds putting in a fantastic display against a very strong opponent,” Vitoria coach Moreno told O Jogo after Bamba and co helped stop a runaway Benfica side in their tracks.

“Ibrahima Bamba did very well. He is one of our players for whom I foresee a great future. We are happy with this response in these games, against these opponents.”

The tall and rangy Bamba averages 2.7 tackles per game in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. That is more than anyone currently in Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal squad, with Thomas Partey averaging 2.1 (WhoScored). Bamba is more than a mere ball-winner, however. He’s an exquisite technician; capable of manipulating the ball brilliantly in tight spaces. Bamba can weave his way through a high press with a shake of his hips and a burst of acceleration.

He is, perhaps, less a Thomas Partey, more an Aurelien Tchouameni. Like Real Madrid’s £72 million France international, Bamba not only breaks up attacks but starts them too.

Marca say that Paris Saint-Germain are after him too.

“I’m a player who has good technique, who likes to having the ball,” Bamba explains. “But, because I liked defending more, I became a defensive midfielder. Until the U15s, I was a striker.”

Hence the excellent footwork in tight spaces.

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