Newcastle United have been regularly scouting FC Le Mans starlet Stephane Diarra, according to L’Equipe.
The 20-year-old has featured in all but one of Le Mans’ Ligue 2 fixtures thus far this term, scoring twice and assisting one goal, and has been a mainstay of their efforts in the Coupe de la Ligue.
Diarra was heavily influential in Les Sang et Or’s First Round win over fellow French second-tier side FC Lorient in August, as the Ivorian created teammate’s Bevic Moussiti-Oko’s first-half opener before riffling home the decisive second shortly after the break.
His efforts across the English Channel are believed to have attracted scouts from Newcastle, Leicester City and Celtic this term, with each club often attending Le Mans’ fixtures to cast their judgment over the youngster.
Diarra only moved to the MMArena on a permanent deal this summer from FC Stade Rennais, having spent the last season on loan at Les Sang et Or and helping Richard Dezire’s side secure their promotion into Ligue 2.
Le Mans booked their place in the French second-tier after ending the 2018/19 Championnat National season in third place before beating GFC Ajaccio in the promotion Play-Off.
As part of the deal which took Diarra to Le Mans on a permanent transfer, former side Stade Rennais took possession of a 50% sell-on clause that will give the Ligue 1 outfit half of whatever sum Les Mucistes demand for the winger.
Le Mans are currently 17th in the French second-tier after 14 games, having won four, drawn once and lost 13 times. Their asking price for Diarra is currently not noted.
Should we sign Le Mans' Diarra?
The 20-year-old has proven himself to be more than capable of playing on either side of the field, in both a natural wide role or a more advanced attacking position, and was lauded last season for his pace and technical abilities when nominated for the Revelation of the Year award.
Diarra has also shown that he is not afraid to take on opposing players, as only Lorient’s Jimmy Cabot (38) has completed more dribbles than the Newcastle-linked Ivorian (31), per data collected by Sofa Score.
Not just that, but Diarra has not missed any big chances in the league this term, has played 77 accurate passes in the final third and registered 14 tackles.
A move for Diarra would be one likely with the future in mind, but the young forward could be the next Allan Saint-Maximin on Tyneside if he can replicate his performances in England.
Saint-Maximin has recorded 29 successful dribbles, 38 accurate passes in the final third and won 55% of his ground duels in the Premier League since joining the club from OGC Nice for £16.5million in the summer.