Premier League • England

Arsenal join West Ham, Aston Villa in race to sign highly rated Stuttgart star as injury concerns mount

Waldemar Anton, Stuttgart

Arsenal are among a number of clubs monitoring Stuttgart captain Waldemar Anton.

Arsenal have joined West Ham United and Aston Villa in the race to sign German defender Waldemar Anton, TEAMtalk can exclusively reveal.

The 27-year-old Stuttgart captain is being tracked by leading clubs in Germany too and faces a big decision over his future in the new year.

He is a versatile defender capable of playing at right-back and centre-back and his performances this season have been consistently impressive.

Anton is Stuttgart’s most experienced player and while team-mate Serhou Guirassy is hogging the headlines with his goal exploits, it could be that the defender is also targeted this winter.

Anton is contracted to Stuttgart until 2025 and has begun initial conversations about extending his stay at the MHPArena, but Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich have an eye on him and his characteristics across the back line are understood to be of interest to Arsenal too as they ponder new recruits.

Mikel Arteta has spoken recently about how his side are short of options in defence and that situation has recently worsened after Takehiro Tomiyasu suffered a calf injury.

His absence – added to the long-term unavailability of Jurrien Timber, who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear on his Premier League debut against Nottingham Forest in August – has sparked fresh expectation that the Gunners will dip into the market for a defender in January, with sources confirming to TEAMtalk that Anton has emerged as a potential target.

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Arsenal in the market for defender as injury problems grow

Arsenal already have scouting reports on Bayer Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong as part of their German talent search missions.

But it is believed the Gunners have looked at Anton before, monitoring him at previous club Hanover 96. Other clubs to have made checks on Anton more recently are understood to include Aston Villa and West Ham.

Anton, a former Germany under-21 international, has not missed a single minute of Bundesliga action this season and also started all 34 league games for Stuttgart last season, having joined the club in the summer of 2020.

Arsenal’s dramatic victory over Luton on Tuesday night extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points ahead of Liverpool and Manchester City’s trips to Sheffield United and Aston Villa respectively on Wednesday.

The Gunners’ next fixture sees them travel to Villa Park on Saturday for a meeting with Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery.

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