ENGLISH premiership side Arsenal are poised to snatch Zambia defender Stopilla Sunzu and the Gunners are ready to match TP Mazembe’s transfer fee of £4 million (about KR34 million).
And Sunzu is too good for English Premiership side Reading, so says Zambia coach Herve Renard.
Sunzu last week attended trials at another English premiership side Reading.
Reading however hope to agree a £2.5 million (about KR20 million) deal with TP Mazembe.
According to the Sunday Mirror, Arsenal has entered the race to sign Sunzu.
Sunzu, 23, was given permission to leave the Zambia’s training camp in Nelspruit, South Africa to train with Reading last week and manager Brian McDermott was impressed with the towering defender’s input during the four-day trials.
“The two possible stumbling blocks to the deal could be TP Mazembe’s £4 million [about KR34 million] valuation of Sunzu and Arsene Wenger’s interest in the player,” states the Sunday Mirror.
Mazembe president Moise Katumbi is believed to favour the player’s move to Arsenal if the Gunners can meet the four-time African club champion’s £4 million transfer fee.
And Renard said should Sunzu sign with Reading, the lanky centre-back is unlikely to last with the English side because he deserves better.
“If he signs for Reading, he won’t stay long because he has potential to play for a bigger team,” Renard said in Nelspruit, South Africa, during a press briefing on Sunday.
He indicated that if he had his way he would have advised him to be patient.
Renard said he excused Sunzu from the national team to pursue his dream move but only to accommodate an ‘African culture’ of impatience.
Renard is, however, not worried that Sunzu missed five days of training while attending medicals and assessment at struggling Reading.
In an interview last Friday, Sunzu said all went well with his medicals and assessment.
He said it was now up to his club Democratic Republic of Congo side TP Mazembe and Reading to conclude the deal that is said to be worth £3 million.
Sunzu has been a key defender in the successes of TP Mazembe and the Zambia national soccer team.
He made the final top-three list for the CAF 2012 Africa footballer-of-the-year award for players based in Africa, which Al Ahly and Egypt midfielder Mohammed Aboutrika triumphed.
Sunzu is expected to once again be the pillar of the Zambian defence as the Chipolopolo look for a back-to-back win of the Africa Cup.
Meanwhile, scores of Zambia soccer fans are arriving in Nelspruit to cheer the national team.
The distinct orange and green replica Zambia jersey is becoming more visible at various hotels and lodges where the fans have set camp.
There is also an ever-increasing presence of Ethiopian fans and it is expected the Nigerians will come in droves, especially for the game against Zambia on Friday.