Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international Tino Kadewere has seen his value rise four-fold to £10 million since he arrived in France just over a year ago, with reports that English Premiership football sides Southampton and Bournemouth have joined the race for the signature of the prolific Le Havre striker.
Kadewere, who turned 24 yesterday, is one of the hottest African properties in Europe’s second tier following his outstanding performances with the French Ligue 2 side.
The former Harare City forward has captured the attention of teams in Europe’s top leagues after plundering 17 goals in 19 games this season.
Kadewere was the leading scorer in the French Ligue 2 by the time the league adjourned for the mid-season break.
He has also attracted interests from French Ligue 1 rivals Lyon and Olympic Marseille.
The British Daily Mail reported at the weekend that the former Harare City striker, who is wanted all over Europe, has been valued at around £10 million.
“Southampton and Bournemouth are among the clubs following Le Havre striker Tino Kadewere.
“Kadewere, represented in UK by Mark McKay of Mercato Sports, can play across the front line though prefers a central role where he utilises his speed and skill to good effect.
“However, the Zimbabwe international is keen to test himself in the (English) Premier League and is waiting to see if an offer comes in this month.
“Formerly with Swedish club Djurgardens, Kadewere has also been monitored by Celtic in recent months and is valued around £10 million.
“Danny Ings has been scoring for fun for the Saints but Ralph Hassenhuttl could do with a reliable back-up forward,” reported the Daily Mail.
Kadewere was brought to France by Le Havre for 2.5m euros from Swedish side Djurgardens in July 2018. The Swedish side had plucked him from Harare City for a reported fee of 150 000 euros in 2015 after impressing them on trials. Interests for the Highfield-born player have been reported from all over Europe in the last month. Another English Premiership side Crystal Palace has been reported to have shown their interest with Real Valladolid from Spain and Turkish giants Galatasaray, which used to be home to former Zimbabwe international Norman Mapeza, also reportedly monitoring the former Prince Edward High School pupil.
Turkish side Besiktas is also reportedly in the race amid revelations that Lyon have offered 20 million euros for the player. This January is likely to be a busy month for Kadewere, who is represented in Europe by Mark McKay of Mercato Sports, whose father, Willie Mackay, was a mega-agent who facilitated the move of another Zimbabwean Benjani Mwaruwari from French club Auxerre to Portsmouth and then from Portsmouth to Manchester City just over a decade ago. Zimbabwe national team manager Wellington Mpandare yesterday hailed the progress made by the Warriors forward Kadewere in Europe.
The online Transfermarkt.com places his value at 2 million euros as at September 30, 2019, but Mpandare said the £10 million price tag quoted by the Daily Mail at the weekend was justified considering Kadewere’s consistent goal-scoring prowess since he joined Le Havre 18 months ago.
He is likely to follow in the footsteps of Warriors teammate Marvelous Nakamba who fetched £11 million when he joined English Premiership side Aston Villa from Belgium’s Club Brugge last year.
“I think the price tag is justified considering that he is someone who has been scoring goals for his club. He is a striker and that is all that is needed from him.
“The French Ligue 2 is very competitive and I tell you any player from that league who scores more than 15 goals in a season is likely to attract the interests of the big teams.
“Tino has scored 17 already and the league is still halfway through. We can only expect more from him,” said Mpandare.
Although Kadewere is keen to stay in France and probably considering Lyon amongst all the potential suitors, reports from Spain in the past few weeks indicated that Real Valladolid were seriously tracking the French market, and one of the players that caught their eye is Kadewere.
Real Valladolid are currently in need of more firepower to boost their campaign. The side has been struggling in front of goal this term, having managed to score only 17 times in 19 games. The Warriors star Kadewere, however, still has three more years on his contract with Le Havre after he signed a four-year deal with the French Ligue 2 side in July 2018. Warriors team manager Mpandare said he was not surprised by Kadewere’s rise from the poorly remunerated Castle Lager Premiership where he begun his career with Harare City a few years back to building interests in the big European clubs.
“It’s not surprising to me because from his days at Harare City and his first move to Europe, Tino was someone who showed a lot of promise. “He is a very hard working young boy who is always aiming high and motivated to do well wherever he goes to play.
“I think a big plus for him is that he comes from a football family and his commitment is unquestioned. He is so fortunate to have the support of his brothers, his mother and his late father Onias whom we all know was very passionate about football development. As a result of that, whatever he does, he wants to do it for the family and his late father.”
Mpandare said Kadewere is now ready for any league in Europe.
“Remember he was very young when he first went to Europe and I think he made the right call to go to Sweden when he had another option to go and play for Sochaux in France.
“I am not saying Sweden is bad compared to the French Ligue 2 but it just wasn’t going to be wise for him at that age to jump straight into France without having to go through the mill.
“So it was a way of grooming himself and gaining experience. But after watching what he did in France last year, I think he is now ripe for any league in Europe with all the experience he got in the last few years in Sweden and France and his involvement with the Warriors. It’s just unfortunate he didn’t play many games for the Warriors,” said Mpandare.