Rennes president Nicolas Holveck has admitted that the club is aware Valladolid defender Mohammed Salisu is keen to move to the Premier League rather than the French club.
The Ghana international has been linked with a host of European clubs all summer after his strong performances for the Castile and Leon club where he played 31 times last season as they finished 13th in La Liga, seven points clear of the drop zone.
Rennes had been rumoured to be in the race to sign him for some time, but that is very unlikely to happen with reports emerging Salisu is on the verge of joining Southampton.
“Unfortunately, we knew from the start, Salisu preferred the Premier League because he is English-speaking,” Holveck told RMC Sport.
“He told us very humbly, and we respect his choice, that the Premier League was his priority. We had doubts about his ability. to obtain the work permit in England. It seems that he has acquired this permit.
“He would therefore be moving towards the Premier League. We were his first choice in case of non-obtaining of the license. Today, the post of central defender is the priority of our transfer window.”
Holveck went on to reiterate his desire to keep M’baye Niang who has been linked with a move to Marseille. The Senegalese striker finished as the Red and Blacks top marksman with 15 competitive goals as the Brittany outfit ended up third on the log and booked a spot in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
“He’s a great striker. All our good players, we want to keep them. M’baye is one of them,” he said
Holveck also confirmed Rennes are looking to finalise the extensions of Hamari Traore and Faitout Maouassa whose contracts expire in 2021.
“We are progressing rather well. I hope to succeed fairly quickly. We are also trying to keep our best young players,” he stated.
Holveck went on to discuss the possibility of Rennes signing Amiens and Franco-Guinean striker Serhou Guirassy. The 24-year-old scored nine goals last term but the Unicorns sadly got relegated to Ligue 2 after finishing 19th.
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“The transfer window has not started so discussions are still rather slow,” Holveck said.
“It is a position we are looking for. Serhou was the priority from the start.
“There are prices that we cannot reach. I respect the choice of selling clubs, I would do the same. We are still on his track but we also have to look elsewhere.”