Cardiff City Opinion: Bluebirds should not hesitate to splash the cash on Ligue 1 star Younousse Sankhare
According to BBC, newly-relegated Cardiff City are currently leading the race to sign Senegalese international midfielder Younousse Sankhare from French club Bordeaux.
BBC further claimed that manager Neil Warnock is keen to add more depth and quality to his ranks ahead of the upcoming season in the Championship.
Cardiff are not the only club to have been linked with a move for the versatile 29-year-old, though, with BBC suggesting that Championship rivals Nottingham Forest and Swansea City, as well as Premier League newcomers Sheffield United, are interested in the Senegalese ace.
The same report claims that Ex-Swansea boss Paulo Sousa, who is now at Bordeaux, has left Sankhare out of the squad travelling to the United States for pre-season training schedule, meaning a move to the English football looks very much on the cards at the moment. BBC understands that Sankhare is rated at around £4.5 million by Bordeaux.
Sankhare contributed with 4 goals and 5 assists in 33 appearances across all competitions last season, as Bordeaux finished a disappointing 14th in Ligue 1 and crashed out of the Europa League in the group stages.
The 29-year-old has established himself as one of the mainstays of the club’s midfield since his move from fellow Ligue 1 outfit Lille in January 2017, racking up an impressive tally of 19 goals and 9 assists in 84 appearances for Bordeaux over the course of three full seasons.
Sankhare, who represented France at the youth level before switching his international allegiance to Senegal at the senior international level, started his career in the youth ranks of PSG.
However, he found regular minutes hard to come by at the French capital and made only 47 appearances in four years, spending time largely with the reserve side.
The 7-cap Senegalese international spent time on loan at Reims and Dijon before joining the latter permanently following a promotion-winning Ligue 2 campaign.
Sankhare went on to play a key role for Dijon in the top-flight but he joined Guingamp in 2013 following Dijon’s relegation and established himself as an influential player at his new club. Sankhare enjoyed three successful seasons at Guingamp and competed in the Europa League before joining Lille in the summer of 2016.
To put things into perspective, Younousse Sankhare has had a rather nomadic playing career in the French top-flight but he has racked up impressive numbers, nevertheless.
The 29-year-old still has a lot to offer at the highest level and the time might just be right for him to test his credentials in England, having already registered 373 appearances in the first two divisions of French football.
In all honesty, it is quite easy to see why Cardiff City have been credited with an interest in Younousse Sankhare, with Neil Warnock currently in the market for midfield reinforcements following the departure of loanees Victor Camarasa and Harry Arter to their parent clubs Real Betis and Bournemouth respectively.
Also, the departure of long-standing captain Aron Gunnarsson has left the Bluebirds short of cover in a key area of the pitch.
A highly energetic midfielder noted for his ability to close down the spaces in the midfield, intercept loose balls and win back possession with crunching challenges, Sankhare is also a very fluent passer of the ball and has the vision to pick out key passes operating in a central midfield role.
The 29-year-old has the versatility to switch seamlessly between central, defensive and box-to-box roles in the middle of the park, whilst he has also been used as a left-back on certain occasions.
Cardiff still have the likes of Leandro Bacuna, Jazz Richards, Joe Ralls and Callum Paterson as options in the midfield, however, one cannot help but feel that Sankhare, with all his Ligue 1 and Europa League experience, could prove to be an upgrade on the club’s existing options.
He might take a bit of time to acclimatise to his new surroundings but that isn’t likely to be a big issue, given his obvious talent and wealth of experience.
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Keeping that in mind, Cardiff City should not hesitate to go all out in their pursuit of the 29-year-old Senegalese ace as he might play a key role in their surge for promotion at the first time of asking next season. And at £4.5 million, he is certainly worth a punt for the Bluebirds.