West Ham lead Tottenham in bid to sign French ace despite Pochettino revealing interest - report
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
West Ham are leading the chase to sign Samuel Umtiti despite Mauricio Pochettino admitting his interest in the Lyon defender.
Sky Sports claim the Hammers are in the driving seat to land the 22-year-old centre-back.
Umtiti is regarded as one of the most highly rated young defenders in Europe and has been named by France on their ‘stand-by’ list for Euro 2016.
The Cameroon-born star has been a mainstay of the Lyon team that finished second in Ligue 1 this season and is able to play at either left-back or centre-half.
Umtiti admitted earlier this month that he is flattered by the interest of Tottenham.
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This came after Pochettino told French radio station RMC Sport that Umtiti is one of the players on Spurs’ radar as they look to reinforce the Premier League’s meanest backline.
“Yes, Umtiti is an interesting player with great potential that could come to England,” Pochettino said, when asked specifically about the youngster. “He is one of the players that our recruitment team is following.”
The 22-year-old centre-back spoke highly of the Spurs manager when those comments were put to him.
“It is flattering that Pochettino is interested in me, he is a manager that I like and his team is performing well,” Umtiti said. “I watch all the leagues but I think the Spanish league suits me best.”
In other Tottenham transfer news, the club are keeping close tabs on a highly rated Holland central midfielder.