Arsenal will rival Manchester City for Aston Villa youngster Jaden Philogene-Bidace as Mikel Arteta looks to land a blow on his former colleague Pep Guardiola. Arteta was Guardiola’s assistant at City for three years before returning to Arsenal, where he played for the final five years of his career, to take up his first role as a manager in December.
Now the Spaniard wants to get one over on his countryman by snapping up Philogene-Bidace, who has been closely tracked by City among several other Premier League clubs.
Football Insider report that Arsenal have kept tabs on the 17-year-old ahead of the summer transfer window and that they are keen to pip City to his signature.
The wide-man, who can play on either flank, is only under contract until the summer with Villa keen to tie him to a fresh agreement.
Teams across Europe are also monitoring the situation in addition to Arsenal and City, with Bayern Munich and Ajax both watching him closely.
London-born Philogene-Bidace has six goals in 10 Premier League games for the under-18s this season, having managed three in four last term.
He has trained with the first team at Villa Park on multiple occasions having already stepped up to under-23 level, where he has been deployed on the right.
Philogene-Bidace’s former coach Ahmed Abdulla told BirminghamLive of the player: “He’s a right footer but he plays off the left. He can come inside or go on the outside. The model winger.
“He hugs the touchline and can beat his man. (He’s) Very confident and very light on his feet and skips past tackles, not one of them that gets hit and goes down. He bounces off tackles.
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“He’s very strong and outstanding in one-v-ones. He’s a really big character. Some people are shy, he won’t be like that, he’ll go in there thinking he’s better than everyone else – not in a negative way, he’s just extremely confident.
“He won’t be shy to ask for the ball. He hunts the ball and makes things happen.”
He added of the forward’s development: “We picked him up through one of our coaches. He’d seen him play for someone and invited him in.
“He came in and he was a bit like, ‘Nah, this ain’t for me. I don’t want to be here, I need to be at an academy’.
“He came on a trial game and got down to the last 30 boys. He didn’t turn up. He disappeared. I think he thought he was too good for us.
“He came back and got his head down and realised this is where his home is going to be.
“He relished the opportunity. He was outstanding every game. He can have an influence on the boys and it can be negative. They follow him. Some days he’d have that but he’s a massive character.
“If ever we were drawing or losing at half-time and not playing well, Jaden would be the one the rest of the boys looked to to get us back into the game.”
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