Arsenal given hope as £82m defensive target makes contract decision

Date published: Thursday 13th February 2020 10:55

Arsenal have seemingly been given a lift to their hopes of signing a top centre-back target, although they will have to shell out a fortune to complete a deal.

Mikel Arteta is expected to add more defensive recruits this summer, despite the club signing Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares on loan from Flamengo and Southampton respectively, while William Saliba will also return from his temporary spell at Saint-Etienne.

David Luiz and Kieran Tierney arrived last summer, but the former has struggled to convince Arteta is a trustworthy option going forward, while former Celtic man Tierney has had his fair share of injury issues since arriving at The Emirates.

To that end, the Gunners are still chasing another centre-back and Dayot Upamecano remains one of their top targets.

Before the new season began there had been talk of a swap deal involving Emile Smith Rowe, who has since joined Huddersfield on loan, but in the end the Gunners had a bid that was thought to be in the region of £50million rejected by RB Leipzig – who were said to be holding out for a fee close to the defender’s release clause of £82m.

The 21-year-old was also linked with a move to north London last month, but a lack of funds meant a deal was always going to be difficult to push through.

But in a boost to Arsenal’s hopes of signing Upamecano at the end of the current campaign, German outlet Bild has reported that the France defender is refusing to extend his contract at the Red Bull Arena.

His contract expires at the end of next season, which means the Bundesliga side will have to cash in on the centre-back this summer or risk losing him for a cut-price fee or on a free transfer in 2021.

 

 

With that being said, Leipzig remain keen on getting a new deal done, with sporting director Markus Krosche revealing the player’s importance.

He said: “Dayot is a very important player on our team and not only showed on Sunday what a fantastic defender he is. [He] will still be carried out with us in the future.

“I also think that we know each other what we have to each other – time will tell how things will go in the medium term.”

If that deal does not get done then Upamecano’s release clause is expected to be reduced from €80million to €60million in the summer.

 

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