Who is RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano and why do Arsenal want to sign him?

first_img 1/1 Dayot Upamecano is on Arsenal’s radar ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline (Picture: Getty)Having impressively reinforced their midfield and attacking departments with the signings of Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal will focus their attentions on bolstering their backline from now until Thursday’s transfer deadline.Arsenal’s summer business has certainly been eye-catching but Unai Emery’s squad currently has a top-heavy feel to it as the first weekend of the Premier League season approaches, particularly with Laurent Koscielny set to depart.Manchester United were the only club in the top-six to concede more league goals than Arsenal last term and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has set about rectifying that issue by splashing out a combined £130m on Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Although Leipzig’s scouting network is one of the most effective across Europe, the club also benefits from being the big player in Red Bull’s football stable. The current squad boasts a number of players recruited from Red Bull Salzburg and New York Red Bulls, for instance.Upamecano epitomises the Red Bull model more than most having played for RB Leipzig’s feeder club Salzburg and honed his skills at the Austrian club’s own developmental side FC Liefering during a loan spell in 2015-16.Interestingly, Upamecano reportedly turned down a move to Manchester United in 2015 in order to sign for Salzburg instead, presumably due to the club’s propensity to give young players regular minutes in the first-team.Is he similar any of Arsenal’s current defenders?It was immediately evident upon Emery’s appointment that Arsenal would look to play out from the back, starting with short passes from the goalkeeper to defenders and progressing from there.AdvertisementAdvertisementIn order for that style of play to work, Arsenal’s defenders need to be comfortable in possession under pressure and last season Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopolous generally performed well in that regard, averaging 92% and 89% pass completion rates respectively.Upamecano is accomplished with the ball at his feet but his pass accuracy rate of 82.5% contrasts unfavourably with Koscielny and Sokratis. Part of the reason for that is he is more adventurous with his passing than either of them, often looking to play in between the lines or over the top. Who is RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano and why do Arsenal want to sign him? Nicolas Pepe became Arsenal’s club-record signing when joining from Lille last week (Picture: Getty)In contrast, Arsenal are yet to improve their defensive options with £27m signing William Saliba heading straight back to Saint-Etienne on loan. With Koscielny set to join Bordeaux and Shkodran Mustafi available to the highest bidder, Arsenal’s need to recruit a new centre-back is paramount.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT Rio Ferdinand tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop struggling by Metro Advertisement Full Screen Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE Read More Upamecano would likely start alongside Sokratis Papastathopolous in the heart of Arsenal’s defence (Picture: Getty)From a physical perspective, Upamecano is quicker than any of Arsenal’s current central defenders and he uses his pace to close down attackers quickly as well to chase back balls launched over the top of the defensive line.Despite standing at a relatively small 6’1, Upamecano has a great leap and is strong in aerial duels, winning 65% in total last season, which was only bettered in Arsenal’s squad by Mustafi with 66%.Is he what Arsenal need?In terms of his position, he is absolutely what Arsenal need. The acrimonious departure of Koscielny has left Arsenal lacking bodies in an area of their squad that was already understaffed.Unless Arsenal can manage to get someone in, they face the prospect of entering the new campaign with a centre back pool consisting of Sokratis, Mustafi, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. Oliver Young-MylesTuesday 6 Aug 2019 1:06 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link179Shares Skip RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano is seemingly the club’s top target to come in with reports emerging on Monday that they have tabled a £55m offer to bring him to north London following a couple of impressive campaigns in the Bundesliga.Here’s why Upamecano features so prominently on Arsenal’s centre-back wishlist.Who is he?Upamecano is a 20-year-old central defender who plays internationally for France at youth level. In 2015, he helped his country win the European Championship at U15 level, being named in the Team of the Tournament for his efforts.Born in Evreux in the French region of Normandy, Upamecano spent time with his local club Evreux Football Club 27 – currently in the fifth-tier of French football – prior to signing for Valenciennes in 2013. Read More Read More Advertisementcenter_img Video Settings Upamecano represented France at this summer’s U21 European Championship (Picture: Getty)Signing Upamecano would, therefore, increase competition for places while adding much-needed quality. At Leipzig, Upamecano has established himself as one of the best young defenders in Europe.AdvertisementNevertheless, there are concerns too. Upamecano missed four months of last season due to a knee injury, only returning for Leipzig’s final two games of the season, while he is also not yet the finished article despite his high potential ceiling.With Koscielny on his way out, Arsenal are losing an influential player and with a youthful defender arriving next summer in the form of Saliba, Arsenal might have preferred to sign a more experienced defender than Upamecano this transfer window.Are there any alternatives?As Bournemouth’s £75m valuation of Nathan Ake amid interest from Leicester City demonstrates, Arsenal are unlikely to source a central defender from the Premier League without paying an extortionate fee due to the imminent closure of the transfer window.Consequently, if they are to sign a central defender between now and Thursday, they will almost certainly be sourced from abroad. Alongside Upamecano, Daniele Rugani of Juventus has been touted as a potential arrival. 1 min. story SPONSORED Manchester United captain Harry Maguire Read More / Skip Ad PLAY Dayot Upamecano played in Austria for Red Bull Salzburg before joining RB Leipzig in 2017 (Picture: Getty)From there he was snapped up by Red Bull Salzburg in a €2.2m deal two years later, who immediately loaned him out to their feeder club FC Liefering.Following an impressive start to the 2016-17 campaign with Salzburg, he moved on to RB Leipzig in January 2017 for €10m.How did he end up at RB Leipzig?RB Leipzig are renowned for their youth-orientated approach to recruitment. In April, a study from CIES – The International Centre for Sports Studies – revealed that the players in RB Leipzig’s squad for the 2018-19 season had been signed at an average age of just 21.43 years, the lowest across 24 top divisions in Europe.The club’s entire strategy is centred around buying talented, first-team ready players from untapped markets – including increasingly France – and developing them into stars. Considering they have secured three top-three finishes in four seasons since promotion to the Bundesliga in 2015, their model has proven extremely successful. About Connatix V67539 Top articles Daniele Rugani is another defender reportedly on Arsenal’s radar (Picture: Getty)Despite being well-regarded in Turin, Rugani has never started more than 22 Serie A games in a season for the club and the summer arrivals of Matthijs De Ligt and Merih Demiral have seen him slip down to fifth-place in the pecking order, also behind Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.Arsenal are believed to have enquired about the possibility of taking Rugani on a two-year loan deal but Juventus would prefer an outright sale. Wolves are also reportedly interested in the 25-year-old and would be willing to pay £30m to sign him.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Comment Read More Coming Nextlast_img read more