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Arsenal have received a boost in their pursuit of Dayot Upamecano, with RB Leipzig ready to sell the defender for a cut-price fee at the end of the season.
Upamecano was identified as a possible replacement for Laurent Koscielny in the summer – after the veteran centre-back forced a move to Bordeaux – but Arsenal eventually had to settle for David Luiz.
The Gunners reportedly only turned to Luiz after failing with a £55million offer for Upamecano and the highly-promising 20-year-old remains firmly on Unai Emery’s radar.
Football Leaks revealed last year that Upamecano’s contract at Leipzig has a €100m release clause which reduces by €20m every year. Therefore, interested clubs would have had to spend €60m (£52m) to land Upamecano next summer.
According to Kicker, though, Leipzig are ready to accept a lower fee for Upamecano to remove the risk of losing the Frenchman for free when his contract expires in 2021.
Arsenal have already shown that they are willing to stretch to £55m for Upamecano, a player they feel has the potential to be the bedrock of their defence for the next decade.
Though Leipzig had initially been been keen to tie Upamecano down with a new long-term deal, they are now resigned to losing the youngster. Upamecano has his heart set on a move away from Leipzig and would be prepared to force his way out of the club.
Last year, Upamecano revealed his ambitions to join a European giant in the future, but failed to mention Arsenal in his list of ‘dream’ clubs. ‘As a youngster, you dream of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, but to get there, you have to work,’ he told Telefoot. ‘I’m very proud of myself, very happy.
I have to keep going in the same direction. ‘I have to aim higher. My preference for the moment is Leipzig. Afterwards, we’ll see.’