This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to German publication Bild, Arsenal have had a €60m (£55.3m) bid for RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano rejected.
Reports in recent weeks have raised the possibility that the Gunners could be looking to offload some of their centre-backs this summer. Club captain Laurent Koscielny threw his future up in the air by refusing to go on the club’s pre-season tour, whilst the north London side are also reportedly open to selling Shkodran Mustafi.
Now, Bild claim that Unai Emery’s side have targeted Upamecano as a man to fill those shoes at the Emirates, but have seen a sizeable bid for the defender turned down by the club’s transfer chief Oliver Mintzlaff.
The report adds that the Gunners could return with a new offer for the Frenchman before the end of the transfer window this week.
After conceding 51 goals in the Premier League, it was evident that Emery’s first season in charge at the Emirates hadn’t quite produced an improvement in defence from the latter years of Arsene Wenger’s reign.
The Gunners looked typically weak and fragile at the back, and so it was no surprise to see a deal for highly-rated St Etienne defender William Saliba be completed earlier this window. However, the stipulation surrounding that agreement meant that the 18-year-old headed back to his former club on a season-long loan, and so Arsenal seemingly head into the new season with no new faces amongst their back-line.
Upamecano though, who is just 20, has seen his stock rise immeasurably after a series of impressive performances in the Bundesliga with Leipzig.
The centre-back boasted an impressive 1.5 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per game last season in the league, also showing he could easily adapt to Emery’s style of play in north London with a 82.5% pass accuracy on his 49.9 average passes per game.
The Frenchman is quick, athletic and composed on the ball, and as the Gunners boss looks to implement a high-intensity style of play, Upamecano could be the man to lead the charge from the back. Arsenal simply must break the bank to sign him.