Watford and Crystal Palace set to rival Arsenal in Mario Lemina hunt


Premier League side Watford are the latest team to be linked with a move for Juventus’ Mario Lemina, with the midfielder looking set to be the subject of an intense bidding war this summer.

Despite a mixed campaign with Juventus and an indifferent Nations Cup with Gabon, Lemina’s talent has prompted interest from a whole host of sides in France and the Premier League, many of whom clearly have faith in the 23-year-old’s potential.

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From the Premier League, KweséSports has already reported that Arsenal, Stoke City and Leicester City are all understood to be interested in the Panthers midfielder, while Ligue 1 heavyweight duo Olympique de Marseille and league leaders AS Monaco are also said to be monitoring Lemina’s progress.

This weekend, Italian source Tuttosport has further complicated the issue of Lemina’s destiny by revealing that EPL duo Watford and Crystal Palace are also keen on the former Marseille man.

While ambitious Watford, with Italian manager Walter Mazzarri, have regularly dipped into Serie A to do their transfer business, it’s hard to see Lemina opting for a future with troubled Palace, regardless of whether Sam Allardyce’s side manage to beat the drop and cling on to Premier League survival or not.

According to Tuttomercato, Juve are seeking a fee of €20-million for the midfielder’s services. It’s not a price tag that would rule out any of the player’s would-be suitors, although it would surely be galling for OM to invest such a fee in a player they sold for €9-million in 2015.

Despite an encouraging start in Turin, Lemina is fast slipping down the pecking order under Massimiliano Allegri. He featured in the Old Lady’s 4-1 victory over Palermo on Friday, coming on as a substitute for Sami Khedria at halftime.

Khedira is just one player who represents heavyweight competition for Lemina, while the dynamic box-to-box operator also has to find a way past fit-again Claudio Marchisio, Kwadwo Asamoah, Stefano Sturaro, Miralem Pjanic and new signing Tomas Rincon in order to get playing time at the Juventus Stadium.

He’s featured 12 times in Serie A this season, of which six outings have been from the start, although he’s struggled to have a significant tangible impact on Juve’s play, contributing just one assist and failing to find the net.

Libreville-born Lemina represented FC Lorient before signing for Olympique de Marseille, and while he featured for France at U21 level, he opted to switch allegiance and play for the land of his birth at senior level.



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