Arsenal reportedly lead race for Juventus’ Merih Demiral

Reports across the European media today have named Arsenal as the leading candidates to clinch a January deal for Juventus’ Merih Demiral.

Juve switch

21-year-old central-defender Demiral enjoyed a meteoric rise last season.

After struggling somewhat as part of the youth setup of Portuguese giants Sporting CP, Demiral was loaned out to Alanyaspor in the summer of 2018.

The Turk’s return to his home country was then made permanent in January of last year.

However, just 24 hours later, it was announced that Demiral had departed the Bahçeşehir School Arena for Serie A outfit Sassuolo, on loan with obligation to buy.

The no-nonsense stopper’s standout showings at the heart of the Neroverdi’s backline over the second-half of last season, though, didn’t go at all unnoticed, eventually resulting in Demiral joining his 3rd club in the space of 12 months back in July.

Juventus were the outfit to have beaten off all competition to clinch a deal for the youngster, with Demiral’s form during the Bianconeri’s pre-season having seen him earn rave reviews from the club’s fans.

NANJING, CHINA – JULY 24: Merih Demiral of Juventus and Joao Mario of FC Internazionale in aaction during the International Champions Cup match between Juventus and FC Internazionale at the Nanjing Olympic Center Stadium on July 24, 2019 in Nanjing, China. (Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images)

Demiral’s struggles

The early months of the new season, though, have not exactly proven fruitful for Demiral in Turin.

Despite Giorgio Chiellini being sidelined with a long-term injury, the Turk has largely struggled for game-time.

Sitting behind Leonardo Bonucci and big-money summer signing Matthijs de Ligt in the central-defensive pecking order of Maurizio Sarri, Demiral has been afforded just 5 starts across all competitions to this point in the campaign.

Granted, 3 of these starts did come in consecutive outings late last month, but rumours have nevertheless inevitably begun to circulate of late that Demiral could soon be on the move.

Arsenal lead chase?

And, as per a report from Fotomac in the stopper’s home country of Turkey (since relaid by the Daily Mail), chief among a host of suitors of Demiral are Premier League giants Arsenal.

The Gunners’ hunt for defensive reinforcements no doubt kicked up a notch this week, after it was confirmed that Calum Chambers had suffered a season-ending knee injury.

And, according to Fotomac, Demiral could be the man to make the move to the Emirates this month as a result.

If Arsenal do intend to secure the 21-year-old’s signature, though, they will likely be forced to part with a hefty sum, with Juventus demanding over £40 million for their talented young defender.

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