Bristol City have faced the tough task of keeping hold of in-demand forward Antoine Semenyo this month, which has included rejecting offers.
The Robins have batted away several bids for the Ghana striker, who twice come on as a substitute for the Black Stars in their group stage matches. At Ashton Gate, everyone already knew about Semenyo and was aware of his talents but as City’s sole representative out in Qatar, he has had more of a spotlight on him.
The 22-year-old has rediscovered his goalscoring touch and has four goals in five matches in the New Year. He has been involved in five of City’s nine goals and is rediscovering his form from last season.
Semenyo is doing all that despite a slight uncertainty about his future with bids from the Premier League, where every player dreams of playing. He has been commended by Nigel Pearson for his attitude to play and for showing his commitment to the club during these uncertain times. With five days to go until the January transfer window shuts, here is where every club linked in this window is at with Antoine Semenyo.
A move to the Vitality Stadium looked the most likeliest of destinations this window with them being the only Premier League club that acted on their interest and made an offer. According to The Athletic, personal terms had been agreed and all it was down to was getting over the hurdle of agreeing to a deal with Bristol City. The Robins have rightfully held out for what they think is worth parting for Semenyo, and after twice being rejected last Thursday had semingly moved on.
Don’t rule the Cherries out of it just yet though as Nicolas Jackson’s proposed move from Villarreal is seemingly off. Football Insider say that a proposed move of over £20m will not take place after the Dorset club raised concerns. A third offer has now reportedly been tabled as per The Athletic and it is believed to be less than the £10m offered outright in their second bid but with more add-ons involved.
A move to Turf Moor was always going to be unlikely given both City and Burnley are both in the same division. The two are not in direct competition with the Clarets riding high at the top of the table whilst City are steering clear of the relegation zone but are not out of it entirely. Owner Steve Lansdown stated at the start of the season that given the facilities and opportunity at City, stars like Scott and Semenyo should only entertain offers fro Premier League clubs, which is a fair assessment.
Burnley did make an offer during this window and were praised for how they conducted themselves in the negotiations. No middle-man was needed, with the Lancashire club going directly to club CEO Richard Gould to register their bid, rather than making any attempts to unsettle the player and go over City.
As it stands, they are not going to come back in for him this month, and have instead looked to South African striker Lyle Foster to bolster their squad. Foster was their number one target and his arrival was confirmed earlier this week. A deal has reportedly been agreed with Swansea City over the arrival of Michael Obafemi also, who can play as a winger and as a striker. The price for Obafemi is considerably smaller than what Bristol City are asking for Semenyo and so a deal makes more sense as there is less financial risk involved.
The door isn’t fully shut on Semenyo joining Burnley however with Sky Sports journalist Lyall Thomas saying on Wednesday that they ‘preferably’ want him in the summer. If Semenyo remains at City and Burnley are promoted, then they would have the financial muscle to offer what City want and offer him the opportunity of top-flight football.
Crystal Palace have been in the background for the last six months on Semenyo with an interest always reported but never a serious move. The Eagles are admirers of Semenyo but an injury in June whilst on international duty put them off making a move in August. It is January now and that interest has not gone away and the latest from London is that they have made a transfer approach.
Palace will have seen bids rejected from Bournemouth and Burnley and so it should be slightly simpler for them. They know the fee that Bristol City want and if they want him then they will need to cough up.
Less Premier League clubs are buying from the EFL these days but the Eagles tend to buy the best young talents in the Championship and make them into stars. Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise buys from Queens Park Rangers and Reading are examples of that, whilst Wilfried Zaha is a homegrown talent.
A move to Selhurst Park makes the most sense given Semenyo was born in London and it is likely to be the best bet for Premier League football. Palace out of the clubs interested probably have the highest probability of being a top-flight team next season. Semenyo’s international teammates Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew are both in South London too and so the transition of life in the Premier League would be made easier.
Southampton are a newcomer when it comes to speculation and Antoine Semenyo. They are said to have looked at him last summer with Ralph Hasenhuttl at the helm, and that has continued under Nathan Jones.
Semenyo has not been a priority for Southampton and they had been looking at Danny Ings but he moved opted for a move to West Ham United rather than a move to Hampshire. Villarreal’s Nicolas Jackson was the player that they wanted and a move to St Mary’s Stadium seemed close, with a loan move proposed and then a permanent deal in the summer, dependent on survival.
Bournemouth then entered the equation and made the offer to buy Jackson outright for £20m with a medical arranged. The latest development however from The Athletic and is that there are concerns over a hamstring injury that could scupper his move. It is up to the club ultimately whether it is worth taking the risk and if Bournemouth doesn’t sign Jackson then Southampton may be prepared to return for him.
It is claimed by The Athletic that Semenyo held face-to-face talks with Rasmus Ankersen last week but they have not followed up on their interest since last Tuesday. More than a week has elapsed and so their interest may be elsewhere but if it doesn’t come off for Jackson, then Semenyo is the option.