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Lille step up Mothiba pursuit

Posted: 9 January 2018 Time: 09:31

KickOff.com have been informed that French Ligue 1 side LOSC Lille are intensifying their attempts to recall South African striker Lebo Mothiba.

The 21-year-old was promoted by Lille at the beginning of last season, yet was sent out on loan to Ligue II club Valenciennes for the second half of last season to give the youngster a chance at more game-time.

Mothiba then signed a season-long loan with Valenciennes at the start of the current campaign, and has been in fine form in the French second tier, netting eight goals in 17 league games, with his impressive numbers earning him a maiden call-up to Stuart Baxter’s Bafana Bafana squad for South Africa’s World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso in October.

Mother club Lille, who are struggling in 18th place in the French topflight, have taken note of Mothiba’s exploits, and are keen to bring the in-form forward back in the current transfer window.

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Valenciennes, however, are reluctant to lose their star frontman, with Lille ready to offer the striker a new and improved contract with higher pay and a further two-year extension on his deal, which currently expires in June 2019.

Mothiba’s agent Jihed Taniche says the negotiations between the two clubs are already underway.

“This would be a good opportunity for Lebo,” Taniche tells KickOff.com. “Lille want his return because of his good performances in Ligue II. Now the teams have to negotiate.”

Mothiba has yet to start a game in the French top tier, with his only appearance for the club coming in January last year in the Coupe De France against Excelsior, where he featured as a substitute. He has only been on the bench once for Lille in Ligue 1 during a 1-0 loss against Paris Saint-Germain in October 2016.

Mothiba was in the starting line-up on Sunday as Valenciennes lost 1-0 to Olympique Marseille, as they were knocked out of this year’s French Cup.

By Robin-Duke Madlala and Fabio De Dominicis

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