Arsenal want Bayer Leverkusen star when €40m release clause activates | Football

The relatively modest release clause becomes active in the summer (Pictures: Getty)

Arsenal may hold off on signing a new full-back this month as they are pursuing a deal for Bayer Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong in the summer, according to reports in Germany.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen his side in the January window, particularly after a recent blip which has seen them lose back-to-back matches and drop to fourth place in the Premier League table.

A new striker and central midfielder are both on the agenda, but Arteta is also keen to bolster his options at full-back.

His plans for the season were dealt a blow in Arsenal’s very first match of the campaign, in the Community Shield, when summer signing Jurrien Timber was forced off with an ACL knee injury that continues to keep him sidelined.

Takehiro Tomiyasu is now away at the Asian Cup with Japan while Oleksandr Zinchenko missed the New Year’s Eve defeat to Fulham with a calf injury.

That has intensified Arsenal’s need for a new full-back, but Arteta will not rush into buying someone just for the sake of it and could even wait until the summer to bring in his preferred target.

According to German newspaper Bild, that player is Leverkusen star Frimpong, who has established himself as one of the best attacking full-backs in European football.

Bayer Leverkusen star Jeremie Frimpong wanted by Arsenal

Frimpong will attract plenty of suitors in the summer (Picture: Getty)

The 23-year-old has netted five times and laid on six assists in the Bundesliga this season – a goal contribution every 120 minutes despite being a defender.

He does not fit the typical mould of full-back Arteta usually goes for, given that he is a more orthodox wing-back who rampages up and down the flank rather than coming inside and contributing to build-up play effectively as an additional midfielder – as Zinchenko and Ben White so often do.

But Frimpong is highly rated by Arsenal and they are aware of a relatively modest €40million (£34m) release clause in his contract.

However, that clause only becomes active in the summer and neither Leverkusen nor Frimpong are thinking about a January move, with their full focus being on breaking Bayern Munich’s stranglehold on the Bundesliga.

Frimpong is not the only Dutch defender Arsenal are keeping tabs on, with the Gunners also interested in Ajax teenager Jorrel Hato.

The 17-year-old, who is enjoying a breakout campaign in Amsterdam, can play either as a left-sided centre-back or left-back and is viewed as an ideal complement to Timber – essentially a left-footed version.

However, Hato will not come cheap, particularly in January, and what limited funds Arsenal do have available this month are likely to be focused on signing a new striker.


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