David Ornstein, during a Q&A session on the Athletic (subscription needed), has confirmed that Arsenal are still interested in the services of Dayot Upamecano. However, the BBC reporter believes that the Gunners will have to fork out a staggering fee of £87 million if they are to secure the signature of the RB Leipzig defender.
Arsenal’s current defensive woes
Arsenal have been one of the best-performing sides in the Premier League this campaign. But, their efficiency in midfield and attack has overshadowed their shortcomings in the defensive department.
Following the departure of Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal, the Gunners have lacked a calming presence at the back. David Luiz was brought in from Chelsea. But, the Brazilian, who is often considered as a leader among men, has appeared tentative when dealing with a well-drilled attacking unit.
He has also lacked support from teammate Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The Greek international, despite emerging as the leader of the Arsenal backline, hasn’t been able to fill in the shoes of Koscielny. On the contrary, he has become more of a liability.
Unai Emery’s persistence on playing out from the back hasn’t helped these two defenders either as they are generally fragile when it comes to distributing possession. Although the defensive duo of Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding has done well in the Cup games, they are yet to be tested in the Premier League and against a quality opponent.
Is the Upamecano deal worth it for Arsenal?
Spending the big bucks on a defender has become a norm in European football these days. Liverpool, in particular, spent a considerable amount of sum on Virgil van Dijk and it paid off really well.
However, doing the same for a considerably younger individual might be a risk Arsenal cannot afford at the moment. The greatest example is Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus, who is still yet to make a mark after arriving in Turin in the summer.
Likewise, Upamecano, at the age of just 20, is more than a risk for Arsenal even though the youngster has shown immense promise during his time at Leipzig. The Premier League giants should instead focus on a more established target such as Alessio Romagnoli or Milan Skriniar. Kalidou Koulibaly might not be a bad option either, though he is likely to cost a fortune.