FC Barcelona are ready to rival Arsenal in the pursuit of Dayot Upamecano, who has been identified as a replacement for Manchester United target Samuel Umtiti.

According to The Sun, FC Barcelona are in talks with RB Leipzig regarding the potential transfer of Dayot Upamecano. The French centre-back has emerged as a hot prospect in this ongoing January transfer window, with a host of top clubs across Europe interested in his services and it appears that the Catalans are latest to join the list.

This could serve as a huge blow for Arsenal, however. The Gunners have been linked with a move for Upamecano in recent weeks, with Mikel Arteta keen on strengthening his defensive department. Merih Demiral is also reportedly a target for Arsenal in January.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have identified Upamecano as their desired replacement for Samuel Umtiti. The World champion is reportedly courted by Manchester United after failing to make himself a regular first-team fixture under Ernesto Valverde.

As for Leipzig, they are apparently ready to let go of Upamecano for a fee of £45 million, which could rather turn out to be a steal given the quality of the defender.

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - AUGUST 03: Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig runs with the ball during the pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Aston Villa at Red Bull Arena on August 3, 2019 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Kern/Bongarts/Getty Images)
A hot topic in the market. (Photo by Matthias Kern/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Indeed, the Frenchman is regarded as one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga. He has flourished at Leipzig ever since joining the club back in 2017. Although he has struggled with several fitness issues prior to the start of the ongoing campaign, Upamecano’s performances at the back have been critical behind Die Roten Bullen extraordinary start to the season under new coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Upamecano has been an ever-present figure in the Leipzig backline that has conceded 20 goals this season – a tally only bettered by Borussia Monchengladbach and VfL Wolfsburg. Hence, he is indeed a viable target for Barcelona as they look to undergo a major defensive overhaul.

The Spanish giants need to plan ahead for the future, especially with the experienced Gerard Pique, at the age of 32, nearing the final stage of his career. Upamecano, in that respect, is an ideal option.

The Leipzig star is only 21 and has time on his side. His excellent ball circulation, coupled with his physically imposing figure could complement the equally technical figure of Clement Lenglet. The French defensive duo, with their technical prowess, positioning and physicality, could surely add a new dimension to the Barcelona backline.

Therefore, the Catalans must look to beat Arsenal in the pursuit of Upamecano this month. They definitely have the upper hand as the Gunners are likely to operate with a small budget due to their spending spree in the summer. All in all, it will be interesting to see how this transfer saga develops within the coming days.

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