A journalist has confirmed a top RB Leipzig player is in Mikel Arteta’s sights, with Arsenal ready to rival Manchester United for his signing this summer.
Both Man Utd and Arsenal need defensive reinforcements ahead of next season. Man Utd already have Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof available at centre-back. However, Maguire and Lindelof are not up to the standard Erik ten Hag wants, while Varane has a tendency to pick up a few injuries each season.
Due to these factors, Ten Hag could do with adding a high-quality new centre-half to his ranks in the summer to fill in for Varane when the former Real Madrid man is out of action.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have Gabriel Magalhaes, William Saliba, Rob Holding and Jakub Kiwior as centre-backs in their squad. Gabriel and Saliba have formed a solid partnership, but when the latter has been injured, Arteta has had to select Holding instead. The 27-year-old is not as mobile as Saliba, which has made Arsenal more vulnerable.
The Gunners captured Kiwior from Spezia in January and he is thought to have good potential. However, he came in for criticism from Ian Wright for an error he made in the dreadful 3-0 loss to Brighton.
Man Utd and Arsenal seem to be scouting in the same market, as they are both targeting RB Leipzig defender Mohamed Simakan to solve their problems.
Simakan is a 23-year-old centre-half who can also play as a right-back. This season, he has made 35 appearances, registering three goals and eight assists in that time.
Foot Mercato recently reported that both Man Utd and Arsenal have made enquiries to Leipzig to see if they are open to letting Simakan leave.
Arsenal ‘definitely’ planning to move for Man Utd target
And Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor has now provided his information on the Frenchman, during an interview with GiveMeSport.
Taylor explained how Simakan is ‘definitely’ on Arteta’s wish list. However, Arsenal being able to sign him will depend on how much Leipzig ask for.
“As we’ve seen in the past few months, injuries do happen,” Taylor said. “Saliba’s injuries have obviously proved so damaging to Arsenal’s title hopes and so I do think that’s a player of interest.
“I wouldn’t say he [Simakan] is predominantly a right-back, to be honest, he’s more of a right centre-back. It would depend on the fee that Leipzig would be willing to sell him for but that is definitely a player on Arsenal’s shortlist.”
French newspaper L’Equipe have reported that Leipzig will sell Simakan if a £35million bid comes in. This might just be within Arsenal’s capabilities.
Arteta has been tipped to bring in Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo for a total outlay of £170m after being given a £200m transfer budget. Arsenal could stretch themselves to spend an extra £5m and land Simakan as well, or they could create such funds by selling one of their unwanted players.
It is likely Man Utd and Arsenal may both submits bids for Simakan and match Leipzig’s asking price. It will then come down to the defender to decide where he wants to go next.
This will be a tough choice as both Man Utd and Arsenal are doing well in their respective projects. Perhaps Man Utd winning the FA Cup – they are through to the final and have already lifted the Carabao Cup – will convince Simakan that Old Trafford is his ideal next destination if he wants to win silverware.