Arsenal have approached their Europa League round of 16 opponents Rennes over the potential signing of young forward Ismaila Sarr, after he impressed in his side’s 3-1 victory in the tie’s first leg.
The 21-year-old dominated Arsenal’s defence throughout the match and was crucially fouled by Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, for which the former Dortmund man picked up his second booking of the game. Sarr picked himself up and went on to score a flying header and seal a famous win for the French side.
It has been rumoured that the Senegalese international has been on Arsenal’s radar for several months, having been identified as a potential signing by former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. As reported by Goal France, the Gunners advanced into opening talks over Sarr after witnessing his dazzling performance against them.
Unai Emery’s side did end Rennes’ and Sarr’s Europa League run by overturning the 3-1 deficit in the second leg, winning 3-0 thanks to a double from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and setting up a quarter-final tie with Napoli. Rennes’ exit did ensure that Sarr would be their top scorer in the competition on four goals.
Much of the hype which surrounded the Senegal forward came following an impressive performance at the World Cup, where he played every minute of all three group games for his country. Many European clubs have been linked with the player but Arsenal seem to be in the driver’s seat given that they got at first-hand look at Sarr over both matches against Rennes.
Emery’s squad do not play again until April when they host Newcastle in the Premier League, having fallen out of the FA Cup already.