Lille captain Rio Mavuba has given the green light for either Arsenal or Manchester United to secure his signature this summer, after insisting that an exit from his current club was close.
With his current contract due to expire at the end of the season, and no talks in place to extend, the 30-year-old defensive midfielder looks set to move on a free elsewhere, and as the player himself has admitted, a move abroad is his preferred route.
United and Arsenal free
That means that both United and Arsenal, who have been keeping tabs on his performances since last summer, can battle it out to see who is prepared to offer better terms. Neither club is particularly strong when it comes to individuals who are adept are protecting the back four and Mavuba, who has 13 caps for France, fits that role seamlessly.
Indeed the Ligue 1 star is now almost certain to be on the market for nothing - which makes him an even more attractive option - and has played up the idea of a move to the Premier League, as relayed by the Daily Express.
"I am closer to an exit," Mavuba said on his future.
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"There are no discussions with the leaders of the club. No proposed extension. Am I disappointed not to extend? No, it is what it is.
"My wish? To go abroad. It could be good. I hope the situation is fixed before the end of the season."
"My wish? To go abroad. It could be good. I hope the situation is fixed before the end of the season"
Of the two clubs it remains to be seen who will be in the better position come the end of the season. Arsenal and United are both currently in contention for a Champions League place for next year, though if either one fail to achieve qualification into Europe’s elite competition, it would be a damning blow for any transfer ambitions they might have.
With regards to who needs him more it’s become apparent that Arsene Wenger is on the lookout for a new midfield enforcer this month, suggesting he is aware that he lacks a real presence in midfield.
The need for such a player
With Mikel Arteta sitting in the twilight of his career and the Jack Wilshere having proved incredibly susceptible to injuries the Frenchman would likely leap at the chance to get Mavuba for nothing, though the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Grzegorz Krychowiak have been linked with big money moves this month.
United on the other hand do have Michael Carrick to deploy in a deeper role in the midfield. Daley Blind is another who can perform duties there when fit, though neither is quite so tailored when it comes to winning the ball back as Mavuba is.