Arsenal: Romano reveals June transfer is ‘likely’ as Arteta ‘scouts’ Bayer player available for £34m

Jason Soutar
Bayer Leverkusen wing-back Jeremie Frimpong celebrates his goal with his teammates.
Jeremie Frimpong celebrates his goal with his teammates.

Arsenal are one of the clubs interested in signing Bayer Leverkusen defender Jeremie Frimpong at the end of the season, according to reports.

Frimpong has been on fire for the Bundesliga leaders this term, scoring six goals and providing seven assists in 17 appearances across all competitions.

He has arguably been the best full-back/wing-back in Europe since Xabi Alonso took charge of Leverkusen last October.

It is no surprise to see a lot of interest in the former Celtic player. Manchester United and Chelsea have previously been linked.

And it has been reported this week that Frimpong will be available for as little as £34million when a release clause in his contract becomes active at the end of the season.

This would be a massive bargain, though the Dutch international has only really proven himself as a wing-back and a lot of Premier League clubs do not operate with a back five.

Despite being unproven as an out-and-out right-back, there is interest coming from Arsenal.

This is according to Fabrizio Romano, who says the Gunners have “scouted” Frimpong “in recent times” and that a summer exit from Leverkusen feels “likely”.

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“There have been plenty of stories about Jeremie Frimpong and a £34m release clause in his contract,” Romano wrote for CaughtOffside.

“I can confirm that there is a clause, and he’s certainly a player who is greatly admired around Europe after some fantastic performances this season,” Romano said.

“Bayer Leverkusen as a whole have been great to watch under Xabi Alonso, and Frimpong is one of the team’s most important players with some superb displays at right-back.

“Frimpong has been scouted by Arsenal and Bayern Munich in recent times, as well as by Barcelona before they instead signed Joao Cancelo on loan from Manchester City in the summer.

“I think in June a move is likely for Frimpong, and he surely won’t be short of suitors as many clubs have been tracking him for some time.

“We’ll have to wait and see how this develops because there won’t be anything happening now, but he certainly looks like one to watch for the summer.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta uses an inverted full-back in his system, though it has always been his left-back who has slotted into midfield, usually Oleksandr Zinchenko.

This position shift sees the Gunners use a back three in possession, with Benjamin White supporting Bukayo Saka and William Saliba.

Should Arteta sign Frimpong, he will likely shift the inverted full-back role to Frimpong on the right, starting a more defensive-minded player on the left flank instead.

Takehiro Tomiyasu fits that role well, although he has proven he can play as an extra midfielder, but Jurrien Timber – who is out injured after tearing his ACL in August – is probably the man for the job.

Of course, Frimpong’s role as a wing-back is very different from that of an inverted full-back, but he is much stronger offensively than he is defensively, so will be better suited for that role than White’s in Arsenal’s team.

It is certainly an interesting link and for the reported £34m price, Arteta can do a lot worse.

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