Arsenal identify French youngster as number one target to bolster defensive ranks | Shoot

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has rotated his squad frequently this season, with players in all different positions regularly being rested and others being given a chance. 

    One position that this has taken place in more frequently is central defence, where Arteta has utilised a number of different centre-back pairings.

    Initially, the Spaniard opted for David Luiz and Gabriel, but Rob Holding and Pablo Mari have also taken turns in central defence.

    However, it appears that Arteta could have found the solution to his defensive conundrum, in the shape of a 21-year-old defender currently playing in Germany.

    According to the Evening Standard, RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate is being lined up as the long-term solution to the Gunners’ defensive problems.

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    Konate has impressed for Leipzig.

    Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi both left North London in January, and Luiz will be out of contract this summer unless a deal is agreed.

    Callum Chambers, meanwhile, could attract attention outside the top-six if he still struggles for playing time, and Dinos Mavropanos could extend his stay in Germany after a successful loan spell with Stuttgart but has made just eight Arsenal appearances.

    That would leave the Gunners with just three senior recognised centre-backs, and Arteta is rumoured to be keen on securing reinforcements in that particular position.

    Konate is likely to have attracted interest from plenty of other clubs in Europe, and Arsenal’s chances of securing the player may rest on whether or not they can secure Champions League football for next season, something that only looks likely by winning the Europa League.

    Whilst Arteta is yet to confirm the reports surrounding Konate, it does appear that he will have to strengthen his options at centre-back in the summer and, with youth on his side, the Frenchman may prove a suitable long-term option.

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