Tadious Manyepo-Sports Reporter
WARRIORS midfielder Marshall Munetsi could become the third Zimbabwean player in the English Premier League after reports emerged he has caught the interest of Brighton and Hove Albion.
The midfield general was impressive with his French Ligue 1 side Stade Reims in the past term in which he netted four goals.
He was one of the top performers for his position in the entire French top-flight league along with Aurelien Tshouameni who has since signed for UEFA Champions League kings Real Madrid from Monaco.
His statistics also compare favourably well with former Marseille star Boubacar Camara who will be Marvellous Nakamba’s Aston Villa teammate next season.
And it looks like Munetsi’s exceptional performance has not gone unnoticed with Brighton and Hove reported to have reached out to his club this week.
Reims are understood to be willing to let go the lanky Zimbabwean, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday for something in the region of £7 million.
His chances of joining the EPL side have been widened further by the fact that the Seagulls are looking to fill the space left by the departure of their midfield mainstay Yves Bissouma.
The latter is now with London side Tottenham Hotspurs. And it is Munetsi who has emerged as the frontrunner to fill that gap.
The Daily Mail reported yesterday the Graham Potter side have made inquiries about the highly-rated Zimbabwean.
“Brighton have asked about highly rated Reims midfielder Marshall Munetsi,” reported The Daily Mail.
“The Zimbabwe international, who turned 26 on Wednesday, has been impressing in the French league where his statistics have compared favourably with some of the best midfielders in the country.
“Munetsi’s figures, notably on interceptions and defensive duels won in game, put him ahead of the likes of Aurelien Tchouameni who joined Real Madrid from Monaco earlier this month and Boubacar Kamara who left Marseille for Aston Villa.”
With four goals in 22 outings, Munetsi was rewarded with a new, improved contract by Reims and the French club could be in line to cash in on the former Orlando Pirates man.
Munetsi missed the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon early this year due to injury but following the retirement of Warriors captain Knowledge Musona, the midfielder is one of those players being touted as the potential replacement to the ACES Academy product.
If the move sees the light of the day, Munetsi will become the third Zimbabwean player in the EPL along with Nakamba and Jordan Zemura whose AFC Bournemouth side won promotion last month .
It will be the first time that three Zimbabweans would be playing in arguably the best league in the world at once.
Brighton and Hove have already made one top signing this off-season after taking on board teenage sensation Julio Enciso of Paraguay for a reported £10m fee.
Munetsi will find Southern African company in Enock Mwepu of Zambia who is already in the books of the Seagulls should the move sail through.
The Zimbabwean is currently in the country enjoying the off-season but he may have to fly back to Europe sooner if the potential deal goes well.
Munetsi started his football humbly at Friendly Academy before moving to South Africa where he starred for several teams before sealing a move to Orlando Pirates where he distinguished himself as a top player.
He played as a midfielder as well as a central defender before Reims took him aboard three years ago.