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New rumor: Villarreal pursuing Alassane Plea

According to reports in France, West Ham and Villarreal are both interested in this 23 year-old French attacker.

Couldn't find any photos fo the player, but here's Nice's home ground.  Not exactly El Madrigal, is it?
Couldn't find any photos fo the player, but here's Nice's home ground. Not exactly El Madrigal, is it?
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Time to report another rumor: Villarreal are allegedly interested in Alassane Pléa.  He currently plays for Nice in Ligue Un, can play both as a winger and a striker.  Pléa holds dual Malian and French nationality; he's been a French youth international.

The interest seems likely, yes (West Ham are apparently interested as well), but doing a deal might be difficult.  Pléa is under contract at Nice until 2019 and his release clause is apparently €40m.  No way we would pay anywhere close to that--I suspect €8m plus variables would be as high as we would go, maybe?

Also, Pléa was out from late September to mid-February last year with a ruptured cruciate ligament.  He came back strong and played regularly after that, though.  He scored 6 goals in 19 appearances for Nice, which is not bad considering the general defensive focus of the French league these days.

So: is the interest likely?  Yes.  Is anything likely to happen?  Not unless the €40m release clause is a smokescreen and Nice are happy to let him go for something more like €8-10m.