Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has identified RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate as one of the top central defensive targets ahead of this summer’s transfer window, Standard Sport reports.
The north London side have experienced another poor Premier League campaign, and they are eight points off the Champions League places with 12 matches left in the season.
Five teams are between them and the fourth spot, and their best chance of qualifying for the elite competition may rest on winning the Europa League.
In a press conference yesterday, Arteta said that the club are already planning for the summer, and it is now reported that they are monitoring Konate with a view to a move.
The same report suggests that David Luiz, Calum Chambers and Kostas Mavropanos could also head through the exit door as part of the summer rebuild.
Luiz’s contract expires at the end of June, but Arteta has regularly emphasised that the Brazilian has had a huge influence on and off the field.
On that basis, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Gunners handed him another 12-month extension with a reduced role with the first-team.
Meanwhile, Chambers may be on the move having barely featured since his injury comeback, while Mavropanos could leave permanently when his Bundesliga loan stint ends.
The Gunners will still have five central defenders in Luiz, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes this summer.
Konate, who is valued at £31.5 million by Transfermarkt, has impressed for Leipzig with his strong aerial presence and ability to clear his lines.
However, the 21-year-old has made just 17 starts in the Bundesliga and Champions League combined since last season, and his fitness remains a cause for concern.
There is fierce competition from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, and the Gunners may need Champions League football to lure him.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com