Arsenal are once again being linked with defensive reinforcements ahead of the summer transfer window.
In the past two windows the Gunners have made signings in a bid to improve their defensive record.
Last summer they signed David Luiz and Kieran Tierney from Chelsea and Celtic respectively, whilst bringing in William Saliba from Saint-Etienne – although he was loaned back to the Ligue 1 outfit for this season.
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Then in January the north London outfit signed Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares on loan for the remainder of the season from Flamengo and fellow Premier League side Southampton respectively.
However, it would appear that Arsenal still want another centre-back with Dayot Upamecano being a long-time target.
In fact there was talk of a swap deal involving Emile Smith Rowe, but in the end the Gunners had a bid – 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 the Emirates Stadium last month, but a lack of funds meant a deal was always going to be difficult.
But in a boost to Arsenal’s hopes of signing Upamecano in the summer, 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 said, there’s still hope of on Leipzig’s side of reaching an agreement.
“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,” Sporting director Markus Krosche said.
“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.”
Leipzig will want to extend Upamecano’s contract presumably to put themselves in a better negotiating position if and when they decide to cash in on the central defender.
For Arsenal to bring the 21-year-old to north London they will have to pay in the region of £50m as according to L’Equipe, Upamecano’s release clause will be reduced to from €80million to €60million in the summer.