Arsenal have their eyes on a deal for impressive Championship full-back Djed Spence, but would have to wait until the summer, reports claim.
Spence is spending the 2021-22 season on loan at Nottingham Forest from fellow Championship side Middlesbrough. He made 40 appearances for Boro across all competitions last season. This term, he has played in 19 matches for Forest so far.
The 21-year-old has provided one assist and one goal in the league so far. He also featured for 90 minutes in Forest’s FA Cup win over Arsenal earlier this month.
In doing so, he caught the eye of some prospective suitors, according to the Mirror. It is claimed that Arsenal are now making plans to sign Djed Spence.
If they were to do so this month, they would have to loan him back to either Boro or Forest, since he has already represented both clubs this season.
In the long-term, though, they could integrate him to their first-team group. He would mainly be competing for a place with 2021 signing Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Middlesbrough would be holding out for a fee of around £10m to part ways with Spence. They retain him under contract until 2023.
And Arsenal are not his only admirers. Indeed, the Mirror add that he has suitors in Italy, where both Inter Milan and Roma are looking at him.
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Closer to home, Southampton are supposedly showing an interest in the London-born starlet.
Even though Spence cannot represent another club until next season, there is a feeling that several are waiting to pounce now to ensure they do not miss out.
The former Fulham youngster has spent his entire career so far in the second tier. He has 70 appearances for Boro to his name in addition to his 19 Forest outings to date.
Sooner rather than later, though, Spence could be set for the step up to a top-division side.
Arsenal right-back decision revealed
Of course, Arsenal only acted recently to strengthen the right-back position with the arrival of Tomiyasu.
Tomiyasu is already a hit among supporters thanks to his powerful displays at right-back. The Japan international made 16 league appearances before suffering a calf problem earlier this month. He is pushing to feature in the rest of Arsenal’s January fixtures.
However, it could have been far different for Tomiyasu. The Guardian provided an intriguing report on his summer switch to the Emirates.
They claimed Arsenal were originally closing in on a deal to sign Emerson Royal from Barcelona. However, Arteta shunned the player amid reservations over his suitability.
That led the Gunners to pursue Tomiyasu, then at Serie A outfit Bologna. He joined for £19.8m, according to Sky Sports, and went on to pen a four-year contract.
Emerson, meanwhile, moved to Tottenham for £25m and has since proved Arteta to be right. The Brazilian has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League. He has put in several sub-par performances, leading Antonio Conte to already ask for a replacement.