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Lucien Agoume - The 'new Pogba' set to shine for Conte at Inter

3:00 PM GMT+4 27/06/2019
Lucien Agoume NxGn
The 17-year-old shone for Sochaux in Ligue 2 last season and is set to move to San Siro despite interest from Barcelona and Manchester City

While all the attention around Inter this summer is concentrated on the established players Antonio Conte is looking to bring to the Nerazzurri – such as Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko - perhaps the most important signing the club makes is set to go under the radar.

Teenage midfielder Lucien Agoume is close to completing a move from Sochaux to San Siro, with Inter moving quickly in a bid to stave off interest from the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona in a 17-year-old who has already been compared to compatriot Paul Pogba.

Born in Cameroon in February 2002, Agoume began playing football when his family moved to the French town of Besancon near the border with Switzerland. At the age of 12 he was picked up by Sochaux's youth academy where his talent was clear for all to see, and he soon progressed through the various age groups.

At the age of 16 years and 252 days he became the youngest player in Sochaux history when making his senior debut in a Ligue 2 match against Troyes, stepping off the bench for a 14-minute cameo. Further substitute appearances followed, and by January 2019 he was a regular starter in Omar Daf's side.

So strong were his performances that he was voted the club's Player of the Month for January, and the comparisons with Pogba followed not long after. Deployed as one of the deep-lying midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 system, his passing range and willingness to carry the ball forward meant he was at home in more than just the middle third of the pitch.

Though he failed to mark his breakthrough season with a goal, his upbringing as a more attacking midfielder means that he still should be able to chip in despite playing in a more withdrawn role.

Two goals in four appearances for the France Under-16 side attest to that, and by the summer of 2019 he was captaining Les Bleus' Under-17 side at the European Championship in Ireland. A born leader on the pitch, he led his side to the semi-finals before they were defeated by eventual runners-up Italy in the final four.

"He is a kid who progresses from match to match," Daf said when asked about potential Barcelona interest in Agoume. "Now we are here to accompany him, to bring him to the top, but clearly, he is a kid who has everything to succeed."

Inter are set to pay an initial €4.5 million (£4m/$5.1m) fee to secure the services of Agoume, though there are likely to be a number of add-ons included within the deal.

He will start life in the Inter Primavera squad, and while Conte tends to favour more experienced campaigners, Agoume's ability to set the tempo from midfield may well appeal to the former Juventus and Chelsea boss.

While not possessing lightning speed, Agoume's willingness to take no more than two touches ensures that any side he plays in is able to move through the field at pace. For a 17-year-old on the radar of some of Europe's richest clubs, his lack of ego is remarkable and is another characteristic that will likely attract him to Conte.

And so while the sagas surrounding Lukaku and Dzeko roll on, just quietly Inter are set to secure a player who has both the ability and the personality to hold down a midfield role for years to come. And it may not be long until fans see why there was such a clamour to sign Agoume.