Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is reportedly ready to hold off on signing a new full-back in January as he still hopes to complete a deal for a top Bundesliga star in the summer.
Arteta is keen to add to his squad this month as he looks to get the club’s Premier League title challenge back on track after back-to-back defeats against Fulham and West Ham.
A new striker and central midfielder are thought to be the main focuses of attention, although it’s thought that signing a new full-back is not out of the question either.
Arteta’s full-back options were hampered from the start of the season after summer signing Jurrien Timber was forced off with an ACL injury in the Community Shield, a problem that has kept him on the sidelines.
The Gunners boss then allowed Kieran Tierney to head out on a season-loan loan. Add in the fact that 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, and full-back remains a big issue for Arsenal.
However, it’s reported that Arteta is determined not to 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 Jeremie Frimpong, who has established himself as one of the best attacking full-backs in European football this season.
The 23-year-old has netted five times and already provided six assists in the Bundesliga this season, which equates to a goal contribution every 120 minutes – a remarkable star for a defender really.
And while Frimpong is not asked to move into central midfielder at Leverkusen, as Arteta does with Zinchenko and to a lesser extent Ben White, that will not put the Arsenal boss any potential move.
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Frimpong available for bargain release clause
The player’s release clause this summer is also a particularly attractive one, given that it is set at a relatively modest €40million (£34m). But that clause is only active this summer an not in January, hence Arteta’s need for patience to get his man.
Leverkusen are desperate not to lose any of their top stars this month as they battle Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title.
Meanwhile, the report adds that Frimpong is not the only Dutch defender Arsenal are keeping tabs on, with the north London side also interested in Ajax teenager Jorrel Hato.
The 17-year-old, who is enjoying a breakout campaign, can play either as a left-sided centre-back or left-back and is viewed as an ideal complement to Timber.
However, Ajax have no intention of letting Hato leave on the cheap and it’s stated that Arsenal are much more likely to try and sign a striker anyway this month rather than bolster their defence.
The Gunners are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they host big Premier League rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup third round.
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