Manchester City could be preparing a £7 million raid for Lille full-back Lucas Digne, according to Goal.com.
Digne has attracted interest from over Europe and has been recommended to City boss Roberto Mancini by former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, who now works with the club in an ambassadorial capacity.
The France Under-18 international is viewed as a long-term successor to Aleksandar Kolarov, who could leave the Etihad Stadium this summer, with City said to be open to offers for the former Lazio full-back.
Vieira has reportedly been to watch Digne play on numerous occasions and has recommended him to his employers, while Mike Rigg, who stepped down as City’s chief scout to take up a role with QPR this week, was also said to be a fan of the 18-year-old’s abilities.
Digne only made his full league debut for Lille in February but has been tipped to become a mainstay of France’s national team in the future, while the talented youngster recently signed a deal to keep him with the Ligue 1 club until 2016, which could prove to be a potential stumbling block for any move City make in the summer.
Goal.com report that Kolarov is heading for the exit at City in order to free up space on the wage bill, with Digne in line to provide cover for Gael Clichy and push for a starting spot in seasons to come.
Kolarov has been forced to spend much of his time this season on the bench having featured in just eleven Premier League games, which has reportedly forced City to re-think their options and consider moving the £17 million 2010 signing on.
The website also report that signing Digbe would be a much easier task than landing his in-demand team-mate, Eden Hazard, who has been the subject of interest from some of European football’s biggest teams.