France and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is apparently set to join Arsenal for a reported fee of £40million during the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old began his professional career at Austrian side FC Liefering before moving to Red Bull Salzburg in 2016 for around £2million. A year later he switched to RB Leipzig in a £8.5m deal
Upamecano featured four times for the German side in the Europa League last season and has also represented France at every youth level up until the Under-21 side. The defender was part of the French team that lifted the U17 Championship and was named in the Euro U17 Team of the Tournament.
During the summer transfer window, Leipzig rejected Arsenal’s £55m-plus bid for the Frenchman whose contract expires at the end 2021, and fresh terms have not yet been agreed. It is claimed that he has a £92m release clause, which has been reduced to £60m.
The highly-rated defender has been linked to a number of clubs around Europe, and the German side are now thought to be happy to let him leave in Janaury provided they can tie down Tanguy Kouassi to a contract.
The 17-year-old is on the brink of letting his terms run down at PSG to move to Leipzig on his first professional deal. He is seen as the long-term successor to Upamecano, who was expected to stay until at least next summer.
Arsenal new manager is desperate to sign a centre-back in January in order to strengthen the defensive area, having conceded some 30 goals in 20 Premier League games this season.
Meanwhile, Arteta has urged former club captain Granit Xhaka to stay at the club beyond the January transfer window and reject a move to Hertha Berlin. According to the agent of the Switzerland midfielder, he has agreed terms with the German side and he is open to the move as discussions between the clubs continue over a deal.
Xhaka did not play in the Gunners’ home defeat to Chelsea on Sunday but Arteta confirmed it was due to illness, as he was asked whether the player would leave next month.
“I hope not,” said Arteta. “He played at Bournemouth and did really well – very committed – and played a really good game.
“After the game, he started to feel ill and temperature. He was not feeling good and has been in bed for two days and that is why not selected.”