BY HENRY MHARA
WARRIORS striker Tino Kadewere has reportedly snubbed what could have been a lucrative move to the English Premier League (EPL) – widely regarded as the best league in the world – after weekend reports suggested that he has decided to stay in France with a move to Olympique Lyonnais imminent.
The 24-year-old former Harare City striker is hot property across Europe after his impressive goal-scoring record this season for Le Havre, where he has netted an impressive 18 goals in 20 games as well as providing four assists to lead the goal-scoring chats in Ligue 2.
Reports suggest that top European teams are jostling for the striker, including EPL teams Tottenham, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Southampton.
Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt and Turkish giants Galatasaray and Besiktas, as well as Spanish league side Real Valladolid are some of the major clubs that have also reportedly inquired about Kadewere.
Warriors fans, most of them popular with the EPL, were hoping that Kadewere would follow his compatriot Marvellous Nakamba to England by joining one of the sides who had shown interest in him.
Nakamba plays for Aston Villa.
However, the fans will be disappointed to learn that the lanky Highfield-born marksman has decided to remain in France, where he has reportedly agreed personal terms with Olympique Lyonnais, popularly known as Lyon.
Local daily Paris-Normandie reported at the weekend that what is only left is for Lyon and Kadewere’s club Le Havre to agree terms.
The French Ligue 1 side has reportedly tabled €15 million after their initial €10m offer was rebuffed last week.
The new offer, according to the media outlet, would be difficult for the French Ligue 2 side to turn down.
The media outlet reported that the deal could be announced as soon as today.
“At the beginning of this week, there would be a huge transfer that is expected to happen in Le Havre. On Monday (yesterday), or perhaps Tuesday (today), Le Havre and Lyonnais leaders will meet around a table in order to finalise the conditions for the transfer of Tino Kadewere. Even more serious, it will also involve sealing an agreement concerning the immediate departure to OL (Lyon) for the current top scorer in Ligue 2,” reported the outlet.
The newspaper reported that Lyon wanted the player as soon as he signs the contract, while Le Havre want a deal which will allow them to take their star back on loan for the remainder of the season.
Le Havre are fighting for promotion to the Ligue 1 and they fear that losing their star striker would disrupt their season target.
“Kadewere seems to have his mind turned already towards Lyon although he remains grateful to Le Havre. Le Havre have high hopes of a return to Ligue 1 next spring, even going through the play-off route. Without its main striker though, it would be difficult for them. Without his goals, Le Havre would indeed be down on the log standings at the moment, perhaps not even in contention for league promotion,” the report read.
Le Havre are currently sixth on the log standings, just one rung from a promotion play-off position.
“Letting go of the Zimbabwean international would undoubtedly weaken the team, and this could potentially ruin relations between the club management and the coach who has often relied on his precious centre forward and intends to keep him until the end of the season. The supporters will also be naturally unhappy with the decision because they fear the club will not be able to find a suitable replacement.”
Lyon are desperate to sign strikers after injuries to their superstar forward Mephis Depay while striker Moussa Dembele is rumoured to be on his way to the EPL. They have reportedly agreed terms with striker Toko Ekambi, currently with Spanish league side Villarreal and want to wrap up Kadewere’s deal as soon as possible.
The giants, with seven league titles in France, are in the knockout stages of the Champions League where they will face Christiano Ronaldo’s Juventus.