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Arsenal tracking highly sought after RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate

Ibrahima Konate

Tracking Konate

Arsenal are said to be looking at RB Leipzig star Ibrahima Konate. The French defender is the partner of Dayot Upamecano, who is heading to Bayern Munich in the summer, after the Bavarian club agreed to activate the French international’s buyout clause.

According to the Evening Standard, Arsenal are one of a number of teams looking at Konate, whose current deal expires in 2023.

The Gunners have already let go of Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi, with David Luiz’s current deal set to expire in the summer.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein previously reported that Arsenal were looking at a right-sided centre-half to possibly join the club either during the previous January window (which didn’t happen), or in the upcoming summer window.

“In an ideal world, Arsenal would have planned around the summer of 2021, bringing in a creative player to replace the outgoing Mesut Ozil when his contract expires, bringing in a right-sided central defender, because they will have up to three leaving in David Luiz, Sokratis and Mustafi, all of who’s contract expires,” Ornstein said.

“That would have been their hope, those two main positions, given what’s happening now, they’re trying to escalate some of those plans, mainly around the lack of creativity, within that Szoboszlai was a consid eration.”

The reality in January was that Arsenal brought in Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid, and let go of Mustafi and Sokratis. No centre-half was signed, with goalkeeper Mat Ryan having joined in addition to the aforementioned Norwegian. Should Arsenal still plan to move for a defender, Konate fits the profile of the kind of player they would be looking for.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Arsenal unveil new loan signing Martin Odegaard at London Colney on January 27, 2021 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – JANUARY 27: Arsenal unveil new loan signing Martin Odegaard at London Colney on January 27, 2021 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arteta could promote from within

Mikel Arteta may have other ideas about what he wishes to do with Arsenal’s central defensive area, though, with two high potential young players out on loan this season getting regular game time abroad.

William Saliba is with Nice in France, whilst Konstantinos Mavropanos has spent the full campaign with Stuttgart in Germany.

“We are having meetings very often to assess what they are doing. Obviously, we are getting all the information and watching their games because I want to keep a very close eye on what they are doing. We were talking yesterday with our loans manager Ben Knapper, who is in charge of monitoring everything that we are doing,” said Arteta.

Arsenal tracking highly sought after RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate

Nice’s French defender William Saliba (L) is challenged by Metz’s French forward Thierry Ambrose during the French L1 football match between Football Club de Metz and OGC Nice at the Saint-Symphorien Stadium in Longeville-Les-Metz, eastern France on January 9, 2021. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

“We are in contact with the players and let’s see. It’s good news that they’re playing and good news that they have the possibility to have a lot of minutes, because that’s going to give us a much better perception of where they are and how we can use them.”

The money invested in Saliba no doubt leaves the Gunners keen to secure a return for their outlay, and therefore giving the young Frenchman opportunities in the first-team makes sense.

Jurgen Klopp confirms Liverpool ‘will try’ to sign a new defender as Matip & Fabinho updates provided

Arsenal reportedly interested in RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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