Dayot Upamecano to Arsenal: Arteta plans January loan and summer deal, Saliba partnership eyed


Arsenal are still searching for a new central defender.


Mikel Arteta is said to be on the lookout for new defensive players in the January window due to a host of injury problems in the first half of the season, with Calum Chambers set to miss the rest of this term.

One name in particular that continues to be linked is that of RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano.

The Gunners have been linked with the French defender since back before the summer transfer window, with a significant bid said to have been rejected during Unai Emery’s time in charge.


But Arsenal are not alone in their interest in the 21-year-old, with some of Europe’s top clubs said to be chasing the defender.

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Take a look at a timeline of events regarding Arsenal’s pursuit of the RB Leipzig man.

Who is Dayot Upamecano?

Upamecano is a 20-year-old centre-back who was born in France but holds dual citizenship with Guinea-Bissau.

He is right-footed and can also play in central midfield. He plies his trade in the German Bundesliga with Red Bull Leipzig, where he has played for two seasons, since moving from the other Red Bull team in Salzburg for £9million.

Dayot Upamecano in action for Leipzig (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)

Upamecano is big, strong and with pace to burn. Not only that but he is an old-fashioned defender who “loves to defend” according to France youth coach Jean-Claude Giuntini in 2015.

He grew up playing alongside the likes of Ousmane Dembele.

How did he get on last season?

Pretty well, for the first half of the season at least.

He made 22 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig, which helped them into the top four in the Bundesliga and into next season’s Champions League.

However, his season was cut short by a knee injury.

Missed 18 games as a result of the injury, between January and May, returning to the team for the final two games of the campaign.

What happened in the summer?

According to German publication Bild, Arsenal made a huge offer to try and snare Upamecano.

Having spent a whopping £72million on Pepe, Bild said that Arsenal have lodged a bid of €60million for the 20-year-old centre-back, having been linked with him in the past.

That offer was rejected by Leipzig, who do not want to sell.

Arsenal’s stance on Dayot Upamecano exchange

RB Leipzig were hoping over the summer that the Gunners would throw in Emile Smith Rowe in order to get a deal done.

The 19-year-old spent the second half of last season with RB Leipzig, and it’s thought that they’re keen to bring the attacking midfielder back to the Bundesliga either on loan or on a permanent deal.

However, revealed that the Gunners have no interest in letting Smith Rowe leave the club, meaning that any deal for the defender will need to be a straight-cash deal.

What he has said about his future

Upamecano helped the Bundesliga side into the Champions League this season.

And what he said a year ago should concern Arsenal if they have any hope of capturing the defender.

He has another two years left on his current Leipzig contract, and said in 2017/18: “I see no reason why I should go away. I have a huge opportunity here to develop and to get regular game time.”

Dayot Upamecano of RB Leipzig.

He also said, during his time at Salzburg that he “didn’t want to go to a very big club too soon”.

Could a move to the Premier League, just a year later, be seen as too soon still?

What Unai Emery said

It’s quite clear that the Gunners head coach is keen to bring in one more centre-back within the next week, but has not mentioned any names.

“We are speaking about the centre backs, but we have a lot of centre backs, we have good centre backs, and if we can sign one more centre back, it is because he is clearly better than we have,” he told reporters. “Because at the moment we have six.

“We are in different positions with some players because Mavropanos has his injury and we are continuing to see that situation.

“We have until August 8, and we need to speak over these few days about how we can be, and how we can close our squad.”

Release clause

According to the Mirror, Arsenal were pointed to the defender’s £92million release clause by RB Leipzig should they wish to have an offer accepted by the German club.

Having already reportedly rejected a bid for the defender, Leipzig are determined to keep their man, with it being likely that should they wish to sign Upamenco the fee they will have to pay would eclipse that of the £72million they paid for Nicolas Pepe in the summer.

Release clause lowered

According to L’Equipe, Upamecano’s release clause is currently at €80million and will be reduced to €60million in 2020.

It remains to be seen whether the Gunners will return in the summer transfer window for the defender, with William Saliba set to return to the club from a season-long loan from Saint-Etienne.

Guendouzi’s role

Arsenal fans have encouraged midfielder Matteo Guendouzi to try an persuade his friend Upamecano to make a switch to the Emirates Stadium.

Both players were with the France U21 squad for their U21 European qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Slovakia last week.

Ahead of the games, pictures of both Guendouzi and Upamecano together were posted on social media, with Arsenal fans showing their excitement at the potential link.

Full story.

Transfer boost

In a boost to the Gunners’ hope of signing the Frenchman next summer, Kicker claimed the German club were worried about losing the 20-year-old on a free when his contract expires in 2021 and could now accept a lower offer.

Furthermore, the report claims that the Gunners are ready to pounce with a fresh move.

Previous reports claimed that the 20-year-old would be available for a fee of £52million next summer due to a clause in his contract which sees him minimum release clause decrease by around £17.2million per year.

However, Kicker claim that Leipzig may now accept a lower offer because they are fearful of losing one of their prized assets on a free transfer when his contract expires in 2021.

This prompted Arsenal fans to react with excitement when Raul Sanllehi ‘confirmed’ a transfer.

£40million bid

Reports of a summer bid from Arsenal were widespread, with Leipzig rejecting all offers.

But with Upamecano’s release clause to be lowered, and no sign of a breakthrough in contract talks between the German club and the player, Leipzig could be forced to cut their losses.

Dayot Upamecano (L) (Image: Odd Andersen / AFP)

According to the Sun, Upamecano could be allowed to leave in the summer if an offer of around £40million is lodged by Arsenal, or any other club for that matter.

And there could be a number of clubs in the market for him.

Tottenham interest

Upamecano is a highly-regarded prospect and Arsenal were sure to have some competition for his signature.

They may not, however, have been expecting competition so close to home.

Bleacher Report, as per The Boot Room, are reporting that Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham are now ready to make a move for Upamecano, in scenes reminiscent of the summer transfer window when Spurs were reported to have mad a late move for William Saliba.

Dayot Upamecano looks on (Image: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

The price tag on Upamecano’s head, according to Bleacher would be £50million in January, with RB Leipzig looking for somewhere between £40million and £50million in the summer if contract talks continue to falter.

Man City hijack move

As well as reported interest from north London rivals Tottenham, Arsenal could be set to face even stiffer competition for Upamecano’s signature in the form of Premier League champions Manchester City.

According to our friends at the Mirror, Pep Guardiola and City are ‘weighing up a move’ for the Leipzig defender.

City lost first-choice defender Aymeric Laporte earlier this season and have struggled in defence ever since.

Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte challenges Michail Antonio during the Premier League Asia Trophy football tournament in Nanjing

Guardiola has admitted he does not intend to buy in the January transfer window, unless injuries force his hand, and this could be a situation in which the Spaniard’s hand is forced.

Arsenal boost

Arsenal have received a boost in their chase for Red Bull Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, with reports suggesting that the German club are confident of securing his replacement.

Le Parisien (via Get French Football News) claim that Leipzig are confident that they will secure the services of 17-year-old Paris Saint-Germain defender Tanguy Kouassi.

The teenager has also reportedly been in discussions with Manchester City, but the Bundeliga side now think they have their man, with suggestions that he has visited their training facilities.

Arsenal ready to back Arteta in January

According to our friends at the Daily Mirror, the Arsenal hierarchy are ready to back Mikel Arteta in the January transfer window with funds to strengthen the defence.

And they are keeping close tabs on RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano who could be allowed to leave next month with his contract running down.

The report has already excited some Arsenal supporters

Mikel Arteta hint

Speaking ahead of the FA Cup tie against Leeds, Mikel Arteta admitted the Gunners will be in the market to strengthen their back line: “That we’re going to try to be in the market to see options that can strengthen the team. That’s for sure. That’s our obligation. We’re going to be working on that.

“My obligation is to give my opinion on the things I think we can improve. Obviously we have some bad injury with Calum [Chambers] a few days ago that is going to change our plans at the back. But the reality at the moment is we’re not going to be able to do much.

“I’m more concerned at the moment to get people back from injuries than signings and try to improve the players we have here, get everybody on board with what we’re trying to do. If something extra comes up and we think it’s the right opportunity let’s do it.”

Arsenal bid rejected

According to Sky Germany, RB Leipzig have turned down an Arsenal move for Dayot Upamecano and made it clear he won’t be sold this month.

Premier League clubs battle for Juventus star Merih Demiral

Juventus defender Merih Demiral is at the centre of a bidding war, with Arsenal among a numbers of clubs eyeing a move as an alternative to Dayot Upamecano.

Reports in Italy claim that Leicester, Manchester United and Manchester City are all weighing up a move for Demiral.

The Foxes are interested in a loan move but Arsenal, United and City are interested in a permanent transfer, according to Tuttosport.

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Arteta hint

If Arsenal do not move for Dayot Upamecano, one other player they have been linked with is Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng.

After the win over Leeds United, Mikel Arteta was asked by a reporter at his press conference about Arsenal’s links with Boateng.

“We don’t talk about any transfers and we are working on a few things,” he said.

“When the club has something to say I will let you know.”

Barcelona in ‘talks’

Barcelona have reportedly been in secret negotiations with RB Leipzig over Dayot Upamecano.

According to El Desmarque, the La Liga champions are keen on the defender as a replacement for injury-prone Samuel Umtiti.

Arsenal could wait until the summer

According to Goal, the £45million price tag that RB Leipzig have placed on Dayot Upamecano has made a deal this month unlikely, as Arsenal do not have the money.

The Gunners could be forced to rely on a short-term loan move before reevaluating a bid for Upamecano in the summer transfer window.

Barcelona identify Upamecano as ‘top target’

According to Spanish outlet AS (via The Metro), Upamecano has emerged as one of Barcelona’s ‘top targets’ during the January transfer window.

With Samuel Umtiti seemingly on the way out at the Nou Camp, the report claims that Barca see Upamecano as the perfect replacement.

Barca have looked vulnerable at the back this season, despite sitting at the top of La Liga and could target the RB Leipzig man in order to help with their defensive problems.

Transfer admission

RB Leipzig’s director Markus Krosche has admitted that he expects interest in Upamecano during January.

“Dayot is currently one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga, so it would surprise me if no clubs came knocking for him,” He told Bild (via Get Football News Germany.)

“He’s certainly an attractive player for the big clubs in Europe but he can still take a few steps forward and develop with us.”

Full story here.

Arteta’s Boateng plan

Arsenal apparently have a plan in the centre of defence, which includes two new signings in the next few months.

The Gunners are apparently eyeing a loan move for Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, who is available in January.

The 31-year-old has been out of favour this season and the Star report that he is viewed as a temporary fix by Mikel Arteta.

However, the Gunners and Arteta are said to be “ready to go all out” for Dayot Upamecano in the summer.

They apparently made enquiries to sign the 21-year-old last summer, but left it too late to complete a deal. But they are targeting a move this summer to try and link Upamecano with William Saliba for next season in the centre of defence.

The club are said to believe that the duo can “form a formidable partnership”, and could be the long-term solution in defence.

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