August 20, 2020
Manchester United have joined Arsenal in scouting RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano ahead of the 2020/21 season starting. Reports like this make me wonder if football clubs know what they are doing when it comes to looking for players. United have had plenty of time to scout the player, especially with him being involved in the UEFA Champions League until Tuesday evening when they were defeated 3-0 by Paris Saint-Germain. United could have signed the player when he was still a teenager.
The Athletic has reported that United and Arsenal will scout the player with the view of making a move for the 21-year-old this summer. The pursuit of Gabriel Magalhaes will be a deciding factor in which club continue to pursue the Frenchman, unless Arsenal are seeking more than one defender this summer. Reports on Thursday suggested that United have made a move for Magalhaes with the player taking a few days to make a decision regarding his future.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire last summer, for around £135 million in a big to steady the shaky defence and with 54 goals conceded in the Premier League alone on the 2018/19 season, reducing to 36 goals conceded in the 2019/20 season, there has been progress but there is more work to be done. Whether it is Magalhaes or Upamecano, it matters not who, United could finally have a defence worthy of challenging for the biggest prizes in football, starting with a league title.
During the 2019/20 season, Upamecano, 21, made a total of 38 appearances, playing 28 times in the Bundesliga, eight times in the Champions League and twice in the DFB-Pokal. The Frenchman scored no goals but added two assists during the course of the season – both in the Bundesliga against Union Berlin and Fortuna Düsseldorf. The Frenchman is yet to be capped for his country, playing at each youth level from U16 right the way through to U21 level, so the progression is there for the player.
Arsenal have been interested in the Frenchman throughout the 2019/20 season and Real Madrid are also said to be interested but this summer might be a problem for them because of the coronavirus pandemic and the financials involved in big transfers, which might see them sit out until the summer of 2021. If the player is not interested in signing for either Arsenal or United, he might decide to stay put this summer, aiming to see what his options were next summer.
That said, Leipzig seem to be fully aware that they could lose the defender before the 5 October closure of the summer transfer window and the club will make sure that the player does not leave for any less than their valuation of the player. A minimum of £50 million would be likely this summer, especially if there was lots of interest from different clubs. However, next summer, the player’s £40 million release clause becomes active, which could see another club swoop in and sign the player.
Written by John Walker