Marseille star Giannelli Imbula is considering his long-term future after a breakthrough start to the season in Ligue 1, with that stance paving the way for Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea to fight for a player they've all tracked for some time.
Imbula has been very impressive for Marseille so far this term, building a reputation as one of the most commanding young central midfielders in European football.
The 23-year-old is not even halfway through his second season with L'OM but is perhaps justifiably already setting his sights higher, with Chelsea scout Guy Hilllion on record as stating he's had Imbula watched extensively in recent months.
Marseille face huge battle to keep young talisman
In an interview with French publication Le10 Sport, brought to our attention by the Daily Star, Hillion shared that he feels Imbula has a string of key attributed that give him every chance of making it to the very top of the game as a defensive midfielder.
Hillion said: "I have seen him often. As soon as he gets the ball he is able to accelerate and break through the lines.
£12m fee would be an absolute bargain
"He covers well, has good technique, great vision of the game, with a very good quality pass and a great left foot.
"He doesn't have bad qualities for a midfielder."
Chelsea definitely look best placed to make their interest in Imbula concrete with a January offer, with the Star reporting that he could be available for as little as £12 million next summer.
Arsenal & Man United should both target Imbula bid
Marseille would surely try and command a higher fee for a prospect with serious potential to improve still further, particularly when he's under contract until 2018.
Arsenal and Man United look in far more desperate need of a top holding midfielder than Chelsea though, so expect both sides to send top scouts to the Stade Velodrome regularly between now and next summer as they bid to find out if Imbula has what it takes to fill that void.
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