Chased by both Leicester City and Crystal Palace during the January transfer window, Anderlecht’s Kara Mbodji eventually remained in Belgium, signing a new contract a few days after deadline day.
However, will that be enough to keep him beyond the summer? That remains doubtful.
The reason behind this is the constant interest of Premier League clubs in his services over the years, which dates back to before his transfer to Anderlecht.
As Het Nieuwsblad point out in their Friday edition, West Ham, who signed compatriot Cheikhou Kouyaté in 2015, were very keen on Kara Mbodji when the player was still at Genk.
The Belgian side wanted around €1.5m for the defender, and a transfer was organised to West Ham, with the Hammers bidding ‘several million’ for his services.
However, his performances in the African Cup of Nations eventually meant Genk ended up demanding more, and Sam Allardyce, then West Ham manager, saw the transfer collapse half an hour before the end of the transfer window.
Then came the summer of 2016.
Having been at Anderlecht for a whole season, Kara seemingly wanted to try something new, and Het Nieuwsblad report a transfer with Southampton, now managed by Claude Puel, is agreed for €7m.
The Senegalese defender was just coming off a great first season with his new side, but, once again, it all fell through, this time because Southampton and the player failed to agree on personal terms.
Fast forward to last month, and we now have both Leicester and Crystal Palace in for him.
Claudio Ranieri makes two attempts at signing Kara, with the last bid reaching €10.5m, but Anderlecht go and refuse both.
Then come Crystal Palace, with Sam Allardyce returning for one of his former targets when he was West Ham manager, with €12m.
Still, Anderlecht refuse due to their manager’s insistence he needs his star defender, and on the 6th of February, both Crystal Palace and Leicester witness Kara extending his contract with the Belgian side until 2019.
Currently recovering from a knee niggle, which thankfully for him doesn’t seem to require surgery, the player should eventually be reintroduced to Anderlecht’s squad.
When he does, with many clubs already planning their summer transfer window, expect a few Premier League scouts, most likely from Crystal Palace and Leicester, to be present at Anderlecht games in the near future. It would be no surprise to see Southampton and West Ham taking a look too, especially as Martin Caceres, if that ever happens, looks like a gamble for Puel.
If Mbodji performs as he has done in the past, then fully expect him to ply his trade in the Premier League next season.