Arteta picks ‘Cancelo alternative’ as ‘talks take place’ between Arsenal and 10-cap German

Jason Soutar
Arsenal targets Benjamin Henrichs and Moussa Diaby competing for the ball.
Arsenal targets Benjamin Henrichs and Moussa Diaby competing for the ball.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has reportedly identified RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Henrichs as an ideal ‘alternative’ to Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo.

Arteta is looking for more depth in the full-back position and is reportedly interested in signing Cancelo, who he knows from his time as Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager at the Etihad.

The Gunners are close to completing the signing of Ajax defender Jurrien Timber, who can play as a centre-back and right-back, though it appears they are still looking at Cancelo.

The Portuguese international spent the second half of last season on loan at Bayern Munich, where he failed to establish himself as a regular starter under Pep Guardiola.

Barcelona are also believed to be interested in signing Cancelo and if Arsenal cannot strike a deal with City, they will turn their attention to Leipzig and Germany star Henrichs.

The 26-year-old can operate as a right-back, right-sided midfielder and central midfielder and has ten caps for the German national team.

READ MORE: Five Premier League club-record signings that will be completed soon, from Arsenal to Man Utd target

According to Kicker, Cancelo remains Arteta’s ‘desired solution’ but ‘the alternative’ is Henrichs, who is on Arsenal’s ‘shortlist’.

Kicker journalist Philipp Marquardt says Henrichs’ future at Leipzig is ‘anything but safe’ and should Arsenal miss out on Cancelo, their pursuit of the former AS Monaco man ‘could pick up speed’.

The news was confirmed by Sky Sports Germany correspondent Florian Plettenberg, who says Arteta has a ‘very good opinion’ of the player.

Plettenberg says Henrichs is an ‘important player’ for Leipzig head coach Marco Rose, who is obviously against losing the player.

Arteta sees the German international as a ‘back-up’ option as the Spaniard obviously eyes another full-back despite the impending signing of Timber.

This could open the door for an exit for Nuno Tavares, who is reportedly attracting interest from Premier League rivals West Ham, who are selling their captain, Declan Rice, to the Gunners for £105m.

Speaking on Monday, the Portuguese left-back’s agent, Cesar Bonaventura, says his client wants to stay at Arsenal.

“Nuno is still under contract at Arsenal,” he said.

“He wants to stay in the team but we’ll see what happens in the future.”

READ MORE: Andersen to Zaha via Campbell, Odegaard and Tevez: Each Premier League club’s best loan signing