Chelsea, Arsenal or PSG - Where next for Lille’s €45m-rated Canada star David?

Jonathan David Lille Chelsea Arsenal PSG 2021-22 GFXGetty/GOAL

Football's young striker merry-go-round has already started to spin.

Juventus made the first move, prying Dusan Vlahovic away from Fiorentina for €75 million (£63m/$85m), adding a player that will be vital to their present and future.

It's likely to be the first of several mega-deals in 2022, with Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe both expected to make potentially era-defining summer switches.

However, Jonathan David also looks set to join one of the game's elite clubs at the end of the current campaign, and the Canadian star will be no mere consolation prize for those that miss out on Mbappe and Haaland.

Indeed, David has the potential to become one of the best forwards in the world and, this week, he'll get another chance to showcase his talent as Lille take on one of the many clubs interested in his services.

On Tuesday, the Ligue 1 title holders will travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

David scored 13 goals in 2020-21 but has already netted 16 times this season.

He is versatile, efficient and quick, a phenomenal modern striker that should only get better as he moves towards his fifth full season as a professional.

As well as scoring three goals in his debut Champions League campaign, he's also excelling at international level.

David is playing a pivotal role in Canada's World Cup qualification campaign, his five goals part of the reason why the Canucks presently sit top of the CONCACAF standings.

His incredible strike against Honduras, which made team-mate Alphonso Davies completely lose his mind, demonstrates why it's no wonder the world's biggest clubs are circling.

The 22-year-old forward has already emerged as one of the game's top young stars, then, but now David is tasked with taking that next step.

"For us, the objective is to finish the season in Lille, but it will be his last season there for several reasons," David's agent Nick Mavromaras told Radio Canada's Tellement Soccerpodcast in December.

"I think the Premier League is a great option for him. I think he likes Spain a lot too because he likes the feel of the ball and the very technical players.

"These two leagues are a big priority for him, but we are not ruling anything out. You never know with Paris Saint-Germain or the big Italian clubs."

Prying him from Lille won't come cheap, though, as the club will look to make a profit on a player they have developed since signing him from Gent for €30 million (£25m/$34m) in 2020.

A fee of around €45m (£37.5m/$51m) is expected to be good enough to convince the French champions to part company with their most prized possession, though, and David himself is clearly keen on plying his trade in England.

"I'm under contract at LOSC. The most important thing for me is to finish the season as well as possible," he told Telefoot. "What happens after that, we will see.

"But the Premier League attracts everyone. It is the most competitive league in the world. It is a really good league."

Chelsea remain interested in David, having kept a close eye on him for the past couple of seasons, but a deal would be dependent on a big-money signing such as Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku leaving west London this summer.

Liverpool and Arsenal have also been mentioned as potential landing spots, with the former having previously considered signing David in 2020 before snapping up Diogo Jota.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are certainly in the market for a striker, having lost Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona in January.

Newcastle have also been rumoured amid their big-money rebuild, as have Inter, who have seen their striker, Lautaro Martinez, frequently linked with other clubs as well.

And, as Mavromaras said, you can never rule out PSG, who will certainly look to make a splash up top if Mbappe does indeed make the move to Madrid this summer.

David has plenty left to accomplish at Lille before that all comes, though. Their Ligue 1 title defence is all but over, as they sit 11th in the standings, but the Champions League offers David and Lille a platform unlike any other in French football.

Taking down Chelsea would prove one of the biggest moments in club history and Lille will need their best attacker at his very best to make that happen.

"We knew what it meant," David told UEFA after helping Lille win their group with three goals. "Not only for us but for the club, because it was the first time the club finished first in the group stage.

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"And I think as a player, anywhere you go, you always want to leave your handprints on the club."

David has already left a mighty big handprint on the club by firing them to that Ligue 1 title, and he'll leave another this summer in the form of a massive transfer fee.

The question now, though, is just how high he can push that fee before he jumps on this summer's young striker merry-go-round.