Arsenal boss Arteta adds Tottenham target Simakan to summer transfer wish-list

Arsenal are reportedly showing ‘strong interest’ in RB Leipzig centre-back Mohamed Simakan ahead of the summer transfer window as Mikel Arteta targets some extra cover and quality at right centre-back ahead of the 2023/24 campaign. The Gunners endured a potentially season-defining dip in form after losing William Saliba to a back injury in March and his absence has highlighted the need for reinforcements at the heart of defence, something that will be addressed in the coming months.

Rob Holding was initially entrusted with filling the void of Saliba but his shaky displays have since seen Arteta call upon January signing Jakub Kiwior, who has impressed alongside Gabriel Magalhaes in recent victories over Chelsea and Newcastle despite also being left-footed.

But moving forward there’s an appreciation within the club that Arsenal need to sign another right-footed centre-back to provide competition and cover for Saliba if the Gunners want to win the biggest prizes.

According to The Guardian, Simakan is now the subject of interest and Arsenal are considering a swoop for the Frenchman, who has shone since joining RB Leipzig from Strasbourg in 2021.

The 23-year-old has been imperative to replacing Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate at Leipzig following their transfers to Bayern Munich and Liverpool, respectively.

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Simakan was reportedly the subject of interest from Tottenham in January but Spurs failed to land the France U21 international, who remains of firm admiration.

The versatile defender was tracked by a number of big European clubs during his time in Ligue 1 when AC Milan failed with a bid for the ex-Strasbourg man.

Southampton, Watford and Crystal Palace had also shown interest in his services before Leipzig won the battle for his signature after striking a £15m deal two years ago.

Arsenal could now swoop in and test the water, although it must be noted that Simakan will not come cheap.

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That’s because he recently inked a new long-term contract with the Bundesliga outfit in December that will be valid until the summer of 2027.

The Gunners are seeking to add several high-profile signings to their squad this summer when a central midfielder and forward could also be of interest.

Arteta will be looking to sign some extra defensive cover at right-back also after losing Takehiro Tomiyasu to a long-term knee injury in the Europa League defeat to Sporting.

Leicester’s Timothy Castagne has also been linked with the club this week with Cedric Soares on course to depart north London this summer following his loan spell with Fulham.

The potential arrival of Simakan – or any other central defender – would likely push long-serving Arsenal centre-back Holding closer to the exit door.

The former Bolton man’s contract is due to expire in the summer of 2024 but Arsenal do have the option to extend his deal by an additional 12 months.

Arsenal are also believed to be tracking Dinamo Zagreb’s Josip Sutalo as the 23-year-old continues to shine under the watchful eye of scouts from across Europe.

Pablo Mari will also be joining Monza on a permanent deal at the end of the season after a series of performance-related add-ons triggered the Italian club’s £6m option to buy.

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