Manchester City are reportedly ready to join Arsenal and Everton in the race to sign midfield enforcer Stephane M’Bia in the January transfer window from Ligue 1 side Rennes.
The Cameroon International had been a summer target for both the Gunners and Merseyside club Everton, but Rennes stood firm in their negotiations with the Premier League sides and M’Bia stayed at the Route de Lorient.
M’Bia had made it clear to the board at Rennes that he wanted to move to the Toffees in the Premiership during the summer, despite the interest shown by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in wanting to bring the combative midfielder to the Emirates Stadium.
M’Bia said, ‘I have just been told that Arsenal are interested as well, but my position is clear - I want to start the season with Everton.”
“What Rennes are currently offering me is far behind my demands. Both clubs have to find an agreement to help me leave.
“I’m aware that my directors have declared I won’t leave, but it’s just a means to make my price higher. I understand their position and I would do the same.
“It’s politics. Regarding what I’ve heard, I know (general manager Pierre) Dreossi is ready to let me leave. From my part, I don’t want to play for Rennes anymore.”
The stumbling block over a proposed move to Goodison Park was understood to be the near £10million price tag placed on M’Bia, but with mega-rich City about to enter the race a move to the Eastlands in January is a distinct possibility. As Blues manager Mark Hughes looks to add some steel to a talented City midfield.
22-year-old M’Bia has been at Rennes since joining from the Kadji Sports Academy in 2004, which is the same academy that produced prolific Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o and is an all action midfielder, with the midfielder being booked 21 times and sent off twice so far in his short career.