According to reports, Manchester City is planning a move to sign Nantes left-back Quentin Merlin.
The 21-year-old has played for Nantes for the past nine years. He joined the team’s development program in 2015 and went on to become a vital member of the senior squad.
Merlin joined the French club in February 2021 and has since made 74 first-team appearances. This season, he has started 11 games in Ligue 1 as a left-back or left wing-back.
Merlin was a member of the Nantes team that won the Coupe de France in 2022—the team’s first championship in more than 20 years—before Toulouse defeated them in the previous year.
The France Under-21 international’s contract at Stade de la Beaujoire is still three years away, but he is reportedly being courted by several European teams.
Man City, the treble champions, are reportedly interested in Merlin, and manager Pep Guardiola is reportedly keen to expand his alternatives at left back. This information comes from 90min, via Fichajes.
According to the article, while Nantes would consider offers for Merlin, the process of securing a move for the highly-regarded French player “will not be an easy one.”
Merlin is being watched by more teams than only Man City; West Ham United, Celtic, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and RB Leipzig are among those said to have expressed interest.
In the summer, Merlin reportedly attracted the attention of Celtic, but a move to Scotland for the left-back eventually fell through when he stated that he wanted to stay at Nantes.
Merlin told reporters in August, as reported by The Scottish Sun, “It’s important to keep your head and not get turned by the transfer speculation.”
“I think I owe Nantes because I had a serious injury last season and I still have a lot to learn about the game and the team.
“I would also love to play for France at the Olympics, which are quickly approaching. I did consider whether there was anywhere else I would have a higher chance of succeeding in that endeavor. But I realized my mistake very fast. I want to play for Nantes for the entire season.”
Josko Gvardiol, Nathan Ake, and Sergio Gomez are Guardiola’s current options at left defender for Man City. The former signed a contract worth an estimated £77 million to join the team in the summer.
Both Gvardiol and Ake have been a regular sight at left or center defense this season, but Gomez has found it difficult to play regularly for the first team. In all competitions, he has made just five appearances, starting two of them, and he has been linked to leaving the Citizens.
Prior to the January transfer window, Gomez was reportedly the target of Serie A powerhouse AC Milan, who valued the Spaniard at approximately €18 million (£15.7 million).