Marseille forward Michy Batshuayi has been arguably one Ligue 1’s stand-out players having already scored eight domestic goals this season.
His performance has predictably seen him courted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, and most recently linked with Arsenal. However, if Marseille are to have any hope of resurrecting their flagging season, they will need to fight off outside advances and build a team around the Belgian.
The sudden interest in the 22-year-old forward is understandable when you look at his figures. Batshuayi has made a blistering start to the season, scoring nine goals in his first 13 games in all competitions.
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The striker became known to Marseille scouts after a prolific final season with Standard Liege, where he found the net 21 times in 38 league matches. After taking a season to adjust, he’s back to his clinical self.
His goal-scoring feats have not gone unnoticed by Belgium manager Marc Wilmots, who handed the striker his debut back in March. He has made two appearances for his country and scored on both occasions, most recently in a 3-1 thumping of Italy. He could soon be challenging the likes of Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku for the No.9 shirt.
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Quick, skilful and an eye for goal, Batshuayi has all the necessary attributes to become one of the best. It is for that very reason that keeping the striker is imperative for Marseille.
Saviour of Marseille
The Belgian has been a shining light in what has been a dull season for the French side. After Marcelo Bielsa’s departure on the opening day of the season, Marseille have struggled for form. Even with Batshuayi's goals, they lie thirteenth in the league. This is in stark contrast to last season, where their exciting brand of football saw them finished fourth.
Two of their best players last year were Dmitri Payet and Andre-Pierre Gignac, both of whom have left the club. They can’t let Batshuayi go too. And Marseille president Vincent Labrune knows this. He is already doing all he can to discourage potential suitors, letting all interested clubs they will need to stump up around £35 million if they want the striker.
Here's what he said recently:
"There is not a single top 15 world club that is not interested in Batshuayi. He is one of the most wanted players on the market.
"There were a lot of offers for him this summer, but he did not want to leave. He is proving himself on the pitch. And if clubs want him then they are going to have to pay up. Around €50m!"
Even in this cash-mad football world, there is little chance of any clubs willing to offer the full £35m for an unproven striker. But success is a double-edged sword. For every positive performance Batshuayi puts in for Marseille, the interest will only intensify.
He could have the same effect this season that Alexandre Lacazette did for Lyon last, exploding onto the scene in a blaze of goals. If Marseille are to have any hope resurrecting this season they need to keep hold of their best players, and Batshuayi is most certainly one of them.