Arsenal have been linked with two of Saint-Étienne’s most talented players, who are both rumoured to be considering their options having drawn interest from many of Europe’s top clubs.
Saint-Étienne striker Emmanuel Riviere has welcomed suggestions that he has attracted the interest of Arsène Wenger. Riviere, dubbed the “new Thierry Henry”, has been linked with a move to the Premier League by both Goal.com and the Daily Mail, who believe that Arsenal and Liverpool are the clubs most likely to attain his services.
“I am flattered to be linked with the clubs mentioned. I am a young player, so to be linked with Arsenal is fantastic for me.
“If Arsene Wenger is interested in you it means you have potential to be a very good player. People compare me to Thierry Henry, and that is a big compliment. If I can achieve half of his career I will be happy.”
On 22nd July 2010, Rivière signed a three-year contract extension with Saint-Étienne (despite interest from Toulouse and Hoffenheim) which should keep him at the club until June 2014. Then again, we all know that contracts seem to be worth very little. If Riviere wants out then the chances are that he will be able to negotiate a move away from the club. However, with Arsenal now close to landing Ivory Coast star Gervinho, this transfer looks extremely unlikely.
Likeliness rating: 1/5
Saint-Étienne president Roland Romeyer has reiterated that midfielder Blaise Matuidi will only be leaving the club for the right price. It is thought that Matuidi, 24, would welcome a move to England and the ability to play European football. The Daily Mail have reported that Arsenal are the most likely suitors as Matuidi desires to play for a club which has qualified for the Champions League.
Speaking to The Progress, Romeyer said:
“The right fee is €15million (£13.2m). We will not discuss anything lower.”
Romeyer was also quick to criticise Paris Saint Germain, another club interested in the midfielder, who are thought to have approached Matuidi himself without first clearing it with his club.
“The rule is that you contact the club to which he belongs before the player himself. Paris does things backwards.”
If Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leave in the summer then Arsène Wenger will need to find a replacement who is proven at the highest level. However, I really don’t feel that Matuidi is that player. If anything, Wenger needs to buy a player who has Premier League experience. France is currently ranked 5th in the list of UEFA coefficients, and I don’t believe that Matuidi has the strength and presence to play in the most physically demanding league in the world.
Likeliness rating: 2/5