Pape Gueye has emerged as a January transfer target for Leeds United who are facing stiff competition from Southampton, Jeunes Footeux reports.
The midfielder, 23, is out of favour with Marseille boss Igor Tudor, with former Arsenal man Matteo Guendouzi, as well as Velentin Rongier and Jourdan Veretout ahead of him in the pecking order.
In addition, club president Pablo Longoria is reportedly looking to bring in cash during the upcoming transfer window and would be open to letting the Senegal international leave.
A number of teams are thought to have been alerted to his availability, but it is the Whites and their Premier League rivals Southampton that are named above all.
Working in the Saints’ favour is the contact the two clubs had over the summer for the transfer of Croatian defender Duje Caleta-Car to the south coast, but the latest report says they prefer a loan move with an option to buy, while Marseille want a straight sale.
Leeds United also had contact with the Ligue 1 side in the summer, also regarding a Senegal international in Bamba Dieng, with considerably less success.
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Adam Forshaw’s time as a United player looks to be coming to an end, and although the likes of Mateusz Klich and Robin Koch have been pressed into action at the base of the midfield in emergencies, neither are naturals there.
Jesse Marsch opted to surprisingly start Sam Greenwood alongside Marc Roca for the defeat at Fulham on 23 October with Tyler Adams unavailable, suggesting the club does need to add back up at the position.
The two summer arrivals have been locked into the starting positions with former fan-favourite Kalvin Phillips sold to Manchester City, so a 23-year-old with 12 international caps could be a sensible signing.
But Leeds United’s recent history regarding Marseille is far from glittering after the debacle that saw Dieng’s deal fall apart in farcical circumstances at the end of the transfer window.
Gueye’s international teammate was about to get on a plane to England to complete a move before backing out once Nice entered the picture, before he then failed a medical with the French side and remained at the Stade Velodrome.
But on the face of it Gueye makes some sense, and a player with decent experience for his age, having already made 92 appearances for Marseille since arrival from Le Havre in 2020, but available having fallen out of favour could be good value.
If the Whites like him as a long-term option it seems that they could beat Southampton to his signature by offering a permanent deal in the first instance, but with the squad still needing help at left-back and in attack it will depend on what cash is ready to spend for arguably the third priority.