France. It’s the new Italy. At least if you’re looking for highly speculative and poorly sourced transfer rumours churned out at a ridiculous rate. Blame it on Ligue 1’s rise in prominence or blame it on Liverpool’s interest in Kylian Mbappe and Benjamin Mendy earlier this summer, but either way it appears to be the new normal.
Having had a few players from the French league linked to the club over the past month or two, there’s now no stopping it, and today Sport Review are adding a centre half to the mix—Liverpool’s supposed Plan B to Virgil van Dijk if you believe them, which you almost certainly shouldn’t.
But if you’re trying to keep track of who the papers are saying Liverpool are buying, they’re meant to have already put in a £15M bid for Lyon centre half Emanuel Mammana, a promising 21-year-old Argentinean who made 25 appearances for the French club last season and has appeared three times for his country.
Promising is the key word , as those 25 total appearances included just 17 run outs in the league in what was Mammana’s first year in Europe. When he wasn’t starting, a smattering of injuries kept him out of the squad entirely about half the time while the other half he was a bench option.
Mammana signed for Lyon from River Plate last season in a £7.5M deal and is a highly regarded defensive prospect—give him another three or four years of seasoning at Lyon or a move to a more prominent league to prove his worth and he just might end up the type of player Europe’s elite clubs start to target.
However, that isn’t the profile of the kind of target Liverpool want to bring in at centre half this summer, and given the budget likely to be put towards a first choice centre half and centre midfielder following the signing of Mohamed Salah, spending £15M or more on Mammana is unlikely.
Or at least it is if Liverpool haven’t completely changed course, deciding to target a new third choice centre half with potential rather than a first choice one who would push one of the club’s current starters to the bench. And for the time being at least, there is no reason to think that has happened.
If Mammana does pan out, though—either by starting regularly in the league and Europe for Lyon or perhaps even moving to a club like Southampton with more money than prestige this or next summer—he might well end up a player for fans and the club to keep an eye on for the future.