Arsenal encouraged by duo after joining Wolves in race for rising defender

Date published: Sunday 21st February 2021 3:09 - Samuel Bannister

Arsenal have joined the race for Club Brugge defender Odilon Kossounou, according to reports.

Kossounou has made a big impression since making the move to European football in 2019. He first made his name in Sweden with Hammarby before joining Club Brugge in Belgium later that year.

After helping Club Brugge win their league last season, Kossounou has continued to rise. He was rewarded with a first cap for Ivory Coast in October 2020 and has played in 21 Belgian top flight games so far this season.

Still only 20, Kossounou is showing his potential. If he continues to develop, he may one day earn a move to a bigger club.

Club Brugge are aware they won’t be able to keep Kossounou forever. With that in mind, they have set an asking price of at least £8.5m.

According to the Mirror, that may prove tempting for Arsenal. The Gunners are already said to have begun seeking information about Kossounou.

The report claims the club have asked former Ivorian stars Gervinho and Emmanuel Eboue for their opinions about Kossounou. Both were positive.

Arsenal are not alone in their interest. Wolves have also been linked with Kossounou, who can play as a centre-back or defensive midfielder, by The Sun.

The ASEC Abidjan youth product is keen on the idea of playing in the Premier League. That may give Arsenal and Wolves an advantage over suitors from elsewhere.

For example, Inter Milan are another admirer – but financial issues may scupper their hopes of signing him. There is also said to be interest from Spain.

Kossounou signed a contract extension until 2024 last month, but Club Brugge could lose him much earlier than that.

A transfer at the end of the season could materialise, with Arsenal making him a top target. However, they are considering a number of options as well as Kossounou.

Arsenal hoping for Odegaard stay

While Arsenal are already looking at potential new signings for the summer, their transfer activity may also include some deals for familiar faces.

For example, Martin Odegaard is currently on loan at the club from Real Madrid. With some promising early signs, Arsenal could try to keep him on a permanent basis.

Manager Mikel Arteta hinted at interest in a deal for Odegaard when praising the Norwegian recently.

“He is a young leader,” Arteta said.

“On the pitch he is showing a lot of character and a lot of intelligence. They are characteristics that a leader should have.

“He has been here a very short time but he has adapted very quickly. He is getting more and more respect from the players and the staff. His weight on the team will increase with every week.”

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