Arsenal and Liverpool have contacted Anderlecht over a transfer for their center back Cheikhou Kouyate, according to his agent.
The Senegalese ace has been one of Belgian football’s top rising stars for some time, with his performances having led to speculation of a move to one of Europe’s big leagues on multiple occasions.
The 24 year old has been given the go-ahead for a move in January and has previously expressed his desire to play in the Premier League. His agent Saffet Balkan, has said that interest in his client is high and that he has been in contact with both Liverpool and Arsenal.
According to Daily Star, he said:
I have been in talks with representatives from Liverpool and Arsenal over Cheikhou Kouyate.
Arsenal are very interested in Kouyate. It’s very likely that he’ll be joining a Premier League club soon.
The Gunners were hot on the heels of the defender after the end of the 2012 Olympics but the player’s inability to get a work permit meant the deal fell through. However, the defender has been granted a Belgian passport giving him a clear route to England, namely to Emirates or Anfield.
Kouyate has long been seen as a star in the making, since being picked up by RWDM Brussels aged just 16 after they spotted him playing in his native Senegal for Yego Dakar. However, due to financial issues, Brussels stopped paying him for a number of months and in 2008, he left them on a free transfer and was snapped up by Anderlecht on a four-year deal.
They loaned him to K.V. Kortrijk for the rest of the season. His spell with Kortrijk was enough to persuade Anderlecht he was ready, and since returning to the Constant Vanden Stock he has never been out of the first-team.
He stands at 6 ft 3 in and adds a great presence in the air, while he has shown to be more than capable of getting forward and hurting opponents for Anderlecht. He is good on the ball, reads the game well and is able to stride forward at will, lending himself to a role further up the field.
He is tall and strong defender who is also capable of playing in the midfield and would make an excellent signing for the Gunners this summer. He can be used as a back-up for Bacary Sagna who is yet to sign a extension on his current contract which expires after the end of the season, as well as providing competition for the likes of Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny. A move to Arsenal would make most sense for the player as the Gunners are short on defensive cover which will give plenty of opportunities of game time in the future, especially if he is a viable option as a defensive midfielder.