Premier League • England

Arsenal ‘agree’ to trigger £34m release clause for Man Utd target as Mikel Arteta flattens Ivan Toney links

Bayer Leverkusen full-back Jeremie Frimpong and Ivan Toney of Brentford are both targets for Arsenal

Jeremie Frimpong and Ivan Toney are both targets for Arsenal

Arsenal are reportedly closing in on the signing of Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong after agreeing to meet his release clause – but the €40m transfer looks likely to go through in the summer, with Mikel Arteta also dampening talk of a January move for Ivan Toney.

The Gunners were top of the table at Christmas with hopes burning bright of a successful second half to the season could lead to the end of their 20-year wait for Premier League glory. However, a sketchy run of form since then has seen Arsenal suffer three defeats in a row to tumble down to fourth and also crash out of the FA Cup following a 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.

And while Arteta can consider his side unlucky to lose on Sunday, London derby losses at home to West Ham and away at Fulham certainly caused them plenty of pain.

With question marks now being raised over just how good the Gunners squad actually is, Arteta and Edu have an immediate chance to boost their options in the January window.

To that end, Arsenal have been linked with a new striker, a midfielder and another left-sided defender in recent weeks.

And after starting with Kai Havertz up front against Jurgen Klopp’s side on Sunday – an experiment which failed badly – it would certainly make sense were Arsenal to go out and sign a new No 9.

To that end, they have been tipped to move for move for Brentford striker Toney on multiple occasions over the past few months.

With the once-capped England striker close to returning from a ban, Bees boss Thomas Frank has made clear his reluctance to sell.

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Indeed, Brentford are reportedly seeking a fee of around £100m to cash in on their prized asset this month – the sort of fee that would take Arsenal towards record spending territory and also take them nearer the £112m exit clause currently set in Victor Osimhen’s Napoli deal.

But with Gabriel Jesus also suffering a fresh injury ruling him out of the 2-0 loss to Liverpool, Arteta has admitted that their chances of landing a new No 9 this month are bleak.

“At the moment, it does not look realistic,” the Arsenal boss said when asked about the possibility of signing a new striker. “What my job is, and what we have to do is improve our players and try to get better results with the players we have.”

When it was put to Arteta that supporters are crying out for a new striker amid new links to Toney and Osimhen, the Spaniard responded:

“What I beg from the supporters is that they are behind the team like they have been in difficult moments. Stick behind the ones that we have.

“They are incredibly good. If not then they don’t do what they’ve done today and in Anfield.

“Stick by them. That’s exactly what they need. Then they feel important and supported. With their attitude they don’t deserve anything different. That’s my opinion.”

Arsenal set to beat Man Utd to Jeremie Frimpong deal

One deal that is hurtling towards completion, however, is the signing of Bayer Leverkusen star Frimpong.

The former Celtic full-back has held talks with Manchester United over the past year over a switch to Old Trafford, before Eric ten Hag decided to shelve that interest and focus on other priorities.

However, with Fabrizio Romano strongly claiming Arsenal are the team to watch out for in pursuit of the Dutch star, reports in Germany now claim the Gunners are bidding to meet the €40m clause for the full-back, though any deal will only be activated come the summer.

And according to BILD, Arsenal have made clear their intentions to bring Frimpong to Emirates Stadium come the summer, feeling his exit clause – which only becomes active at the end of the season – represents something of a bargain.

Frimpong committed to a new deal with Bayer over the summer, with their managing director of sport, Simon Rolfes, makingclear at the time that the contract was a reward for his rapid progress.

“Jeremie Frimpong has not just developed into an extremely popular figure in our squad over the past few years.

“At the moment, he is one of the best players in the Bundesliga in his position as an attacking right-back. The contract extension underlines Jeremie’s importance to our Werkself.”

However, while Bayer are keen to retain Frimpong’s services, it’s claimed the low exit clause means they realistically know he will be on the move come the summer.

And now it’s claimed that Arsenal have agreed to trigger that clause with the 23-year-old now set to move to London on July 1.

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