Arsenal are very much interested in signing young Reims defender Axel Disasi this summer, according to transfer expert David Ornstein.
Reports over the weekend claimed officials from the Gunners had made contact with the French club after watching the centre-half closely all season.
Disasi has been a regular in a Reims side that, this season, boasts the best defensive record in Ligue 1 and currently sits an impressive fifth in the table.
But with just a year left on his contract and the player seemingly unwilling to extend his stay, Arsenal have ‘been in touch’ as per Goal, to lodge a £13.2m (€15m) bid for Disasi.
Speaking on the The Ornstein & Chapman Podcast, The Athletic journalist Ornstein has confirmed Arsenal have an interest in the defender.
“We know central defence is an area that they’re looking to strengthen,” Ornstein said.
“In recent days, they’ve been linked with Axel Disasi at Reims. The young French defender who’s only got a year left on his contract.
“It is true that Arsenal have been tracking him over the last year or so – as have many other clubs.”
Ornstein, however, reckons Gunners boss Mikel Arteta could look elsewhere and will instead prioritise a left-footed centre-half.
“I’m not saying I know for sure they won’t look to bring [Disasi] in, but what I do know is that he’s a right-footed centre-half and Mikel Arteta’s preference is to sign permanently a left-footed centre-half,” Ornstein continued.
“As such, I understand that it’s very likely that they’ll make the loan deal for Pablo Mari into a permanent transfer for around £10m…or Euros, they’re about the same now.
“That would satisfy Arteta’s need for the left-sided centre-half, but I’m not exactly sure what else they’ll do.”
Mari has already indicated he wants to make his stay at Arsenal permanent and went on record to say last month: “I am so happy here. I am going to try and do my best until the end of the season.
“I hope also the club is happy with me and then we are going to find a good end (of the season) for everybody.
“I want to play a lot of years here with Arsenal. It is another situation and I am really happy now.”
Asked if knowing Arteta was helpful in settling in at Arsenal, Mari revealed: “I didn’t meet him there. So this is my first time with him.
“But everybody knows he is a really good coach. He tries to speak with me a lot and I try to learn a lot with him. I think it is going to be good together.”
In other Arsenal news, one pundit has expressed his genuine fears that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be sold to Manchester City to raise much-needed transfer funds, but to leave the Gunners with an even wider gap between themselves and the current top four.