Marseille president Vincent Labrune has reiterated his club’s interest in Lille’s Florian Thauvin, although his opposite number insists the France Under-20 star is not for sale.
Thauvin, 20, was Les Bleuets' hero as he scored both goals in their 2-1 semi-final defeat of Ghana on Wednesday, and his performances have not gone unnoticed, with Marseille publicly stating their interest in the young forward.
OM president Labrune declared to the media that "it's a matter which we're going to look at again in the coming days", before adding: "We'll wait as long as necessary, but we'll always be there for that player."
However, Lille counterpart Michel Seydoux, provided a swift and uncompromising response via a press release published on the club's official website.
"Vincent Labrune's initial attempts, via the media and back channels, could be put down to awkwardness or inexperience,” Seydoux said. “But the continued determination he showed [yesterday] seems to owe more to stupidity and a lack of respect for Lille.
“For the last time, Florian Thauvin will not join Marseille or any another club. He's a Lille player, un-transferable." Lille paid Bastia €5.5 million for Thauvin last January before loaning him back to the Corsican club.
The attacking midfielder struck ten league goals to help keep Bastia in the top flight, but had reportedly been persuaded to sign for Lille by then-coach Rudi Garcia, who has since left to take over Roma and been replaced by Rene Girard.
The player stated in France Football recently that he “should have waited” before leaving Bastia, but told L'Equipe on Thursday he was unaware of Labrune's intentions to renew attempts to sign him.
Before heading off on a three-week holiday after the Under-20 World Cup, Thauvin is expected in Lille to discuss his future, with L'Equipe reporting the club may already be prepared to raise his salary from the €40,000-a-month he agreed to in January.
For now, Thauvin is concentrating on his international form, which has been on an upward curve since the start of the tournament in Turkey, when he was substituted just after the hour when France met Ghana in their first game.
"I wasn't effective enough at the start of the World Cup,” Thauvin said. “I'm a forward, I have faith in myself, I knew that it would end up going in. It's been tough for me. When a player doesn't put in a good performance, when he's harming the team, you have to take him off.
“That's what happened. I was struggling and it was normal the coach take me out. But they have kept their confidence in me. They've played me in every game, and I've now repaid that faith."