RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano has decided to join Arsenal this summer, according to claims from Italian newspaper Tuttosport.
Upamecano has been linked with Arsenal for a long time, having established himself as one of Europe’s most promising defenders. The centre-back is out of contract next summer, and Leipzig are eager to ensure they receive a transfer fee for him.
Upamecano has a €60m release clause that will be valid this summer, and AC Milan had been interested in him. However, Tuttosport claim that the Italian side – who were struggling to afford that sum – have been told Upamecano is heading to Arsenal instead.
According to the report, Arsenal have “snatched an agreement” with RB Leipzig to sign the 21-year-old. If true, it would be a major coup for the Gunners, who have struggled defensively in recent years.
Arsenal are not the only Premier League side interested in Upamecano, as Manchester United have also been monitoring him. However, the Gunners have been linked more regularly, and they now could be closing in on a major deal.
Arsenal signed David Luiz from Chelsea last summer in an effort to shore up their defence. A move for Upamecano, though, would be a longer term solution.
Luiz has not solved all their problems, as pundits have continued to criticise their functionality at the back. In part due to those issues, Arsenal have the second worst goal difference in the top half of the Premier League.
Upamecano has made 33 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig this season, all of which were starts. He was sent off in his most recent match, against Paderborn.
Change of plan for Upamecano?
If Arsenal really have found an agreement for Upamecano, it would mark a change of plan after recent claims. His agent had suggested that the Frenchman may be too expensive to move this summer.
“I don’t believe in large transfers this summer and I think Upamecano is a player who will demand a large fee,” Volker Struth told ‘Doppelpass’ on Sport 1 last month (via Goal).
The France Under-21 international has been at Leipzig for three-and-a-half years, after moving from sister club RB Salzburg. European giants Bayern Munich and Barcelona have also reportedly been watching his progress.