Barcelona have identified RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano as a target, but Arsenal’s interest has not faded, according to reports in Spain.
Arsenal are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, having conceded the joint-highest number of goals of any side in the top half of the Premier League, but it had been thought that they had moved on from Upamecano.
The French centre-back is said to be valued at £70m by his club – a price they are not willing to budge from, and would be beyond Arsenal’s means.
Therefore, it was suggested that they had turned their attention to another Bundesliga defender as a cheaper solution, in the shape of Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng.
It is claimed that Boateng could be allowed to join Arsenal for free this month, despite still having 18 months remaining on his contract.
However, Sport provide a fresh twist in the battle for the 21-year-old, revealing that Arsenal are still ‘attentive’ towards Upamecano.
The Catalan publication state that Barcelona are also monitoring Upamecano’s situation, as he is viewed as a promising prospect for the future who could replace an exit-linked defender of their own.
The report claims that the arrival of Upamecano would pave the way for Samuel Umtiti to leave the Camp Nou, with the fellow Frenchman struggling to get ahead of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet in the pecking order.
Sport suggest that Umtiti could in fact be Premier League bound himself, with Manchester United the first club to be named as a possible destination.
Despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being confused by reports around a long-term injury to Harry Maguire, the Red Devils could also make use of some extra solidity at the back.
Victor Lindelof has been Maguire’s main centre-back partner this season, but it’s a position Solskjaer may want to upgrade – with Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe all only managing fringe roles, and Eric Bailly missing the whole season so far as he recovers from an ACL injury.
Alternatively, Arsenal may consider Umtiti as an alternative should they miss out on Upamecano, while Tottenham are also tipped to consider taking advantage of the 26-year-old’s potential departure.
Umtiti had previously been linked with a January move to Manchester City to provide them with the depth they need at the back, having had to use midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri there as emergency measures on occasion this season.
However, if his price tag remains at €55m, it may pose a problem for any interested parties.