Arsenal braced for £53m transfer blow as coronavirus could force target to change plans



Posted Thursday, April 09, 2020 by Express.co.uk

Arsenal braced for £53m transfer blow as coronavirus could force target to change plans
Arsenal braced for £53m transfer blow as coronavirus could force target to change plans (Image: GETTY)

The repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic could force Arsenal to miss out on one of their top targets.

RB Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche has suggested Arsenal transfer target Dayot Upamecano will not be leaving the club this summer, because no-one can meet his release clause.

The highly-rated French defender has a release clause in his contract believed to be worth in the region of £53million (€60m).

Arsenal are one of several clubs including Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Tottenham who are keen on Upamecano.

The 21-year-old has been a key member of side since he joined from sister club Red Bull Salzburg in January 2017, making over 100 appearances at the Red Bull Arena since then.

Such displays have helped Leipzig become a major player both in the Bundesliga and the Champions League.

And the France under-21 international has attracted the interest of clubs across Europe, particularly with his contract expiring in 2021.

It was thought given his deal is set to run out that Leipzig would begrudgingly have to sell him this summer.

But the coronavirus pandemic is set to have a transformative impact on the upcoming transfer window, with no clubs expected to shell out huge fees as they have in previous years.

And as such Krosche thinks Upamecano may end up changing his mind over his future, the Leipzig chief clearly hopeful he will pen a new deal.

"Such a fee is rather unlikely, at least this summer," he told German outlet Kicker.

"This is a far-reaching decision for a player. He should take his time.

"I'm no friend of building up pressure.

"He has to find out exactly what he intends to do and how he sees his future.

"Maybe this has changed a bit for him due to this new situation."

According to some reports, Arteta had seen Upamecano as his top target as the Spaniard looks to restructure his defence.

But Leipzig will hope to repeat the approach that has seen them tie top stars down to new deals in recent years.

Liverpool target Timo Werner was set to enter the final 12 months of his deal last summer but after a move to Bayern Munich failed to materialise, he signed an extension.

That deal includes a release clause at around £50m, and so Leipzig may well seek to do similar with Upamecano.

Both Leipzig and Salzburg, owned by Austrian energy drinks company Red Bull, are renowned for being willing to let their best players go for fair fees.

But Arsenal’s desire to land Upamecano may have to wait, particularly as they were set to be starved of funds even before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Londoners have suffered financially from a lack of Champions League football in recent seasons and even if the season resumes this term, are seen as unlikely to clinch a qualification for next term’s competition.

If they failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League, their hopes of raising the cash to sign Upamecano would rely on player sales, with the fees they can accrue likely to drop due to the repercussions of the virus on clubs across the continent.



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