Aston Villa in 5 clubs who should rival Arsenal as £20m ace eyes the Prem


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Manuel Akanji is considering leaving Borussia Dortmund and joining a Premier League side, so here are five clubs who should try to sign the defender Arsenal are interested in buying.

The Swiss centre-half has spent the last four seasons at the Westfalenstadion after moving to Germany in 2018. BVB paid Basel £20m to purchase Akanji, who penned a five-year deal at the Bundesliga outfit. But he will enter the final 12-months of those terms this summer.

So, his future in North Rhine-Westphalia is uncertain and Borussia Dortmund have moved to strengthen their defence already, as well. Niklas Sule will join BVB once his contract with Bayern Munich ends in June, while Nico Schlotterbeck will leave Freiburg for €25m (£21m).

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Akanji considering Premier League move with Arsenal interested in Dortmund star

Borussia Dortmund now plan to turn their attention to improving Marco Rose’s attack. But Sport1 report BVB must sell players to bolster their budget before signing a striker. Akanji is likely to be among those available, but he would command a fee of up to €25m (£21m).

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So, with his future at Signal Iduna Park uncertain, Akanji is toying with the idea of moving to the Premier League. The centre-back already has some suitors in England with Sport Bild citing Arsenal as holding an interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Akanji, who Juventus admire.

Mikel Arteta already has two established first-choice centre-backs at the Emirates Stadium in Gabriel Magalhaes and Benjamin White. The Gunners will also have William Saliba back next term after spending this with Marseille on loan. Yet Akanji is a highly-lauded option.

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“Manuel has been playing at a very high level for many months now,” Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc told local newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten in 2021. “He does his job really well and in Wolfsburg, he almost managed to score another headed goal.

“We are very happy with him. He is playing at least as well as he did when he first joined us in the winter of 2018. He is a pretty complete defender.”

But Arsenal are not the only Premier League side interested in Akanji and are not the only English side who should be looking to sign the defender from Borussia Dortmund, either…

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Manchester United to rival Arsenal interest for Borussia Dortmund ace Akanji

While citing Arsenal and Juventus’ interest in Akanji, Sport Bild report Manchester United also admire the Borussia Dortmund ace. Both Premier League giants have reached out to the 39-cap Switzerland defender’s agent to explore his interest in a move to England, too.

The chances of Akanji leaving the Westfalenstadion this summer are becoming increasingly high the nearer to the market opening. A move to Old Trafford would also see the 26-year-old earn a substantial pay rise on the new terms that would be on offer at his current side.

Further reports by Bild in March noted Manchester United are ready to pay Akanji €15m-a-season (£245k-a/w). He has also lost interest in signing new terms with BVB, after the club only offered him an €8m-a-year (£130k-a/w) extension to stay in North Rhine-Westphalia.

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Tottenham Hotspur should enter race to sign Akanji in event of BVB departure

Tottenham Hotspur should enter the race to sign Akanji in the event Borussia Dortmund look to secure his departure. BVB will be loath to let the defender enter the final year of his contract and risk him leaving for free. Spurs, meanwhile, are in the market for defenders.

The Mirror report Antonio Conte is eager to sign a new centre-half over the off-season to strengthen Spurs’ options. The Italian has his former Inter Milan star Stefan de Vrij high on Tottenham’s shortlist, but feels Villarreal’s Pau Torres may be the better long-term signing.

However, El Submarino Amarillo will only sell Torres for close to his €60m (£51m) release clause, according to La Razon. The Spanish publication also reports Manchester United are interested in the Villarreal ace alongside Tottenham, who sought to secure a deal last year.

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West Ham United should revive January 2018 interest in Akanji transfer

West Ham United had shown an interest in signing Arsenal target Akanji from Basel before he joined Borussia Dortmund. The Daily Mail reported at the time of his move to Germany that the Irons, Southampton, West Brom and Liverpool had been tracking the 6 ft 2 talent.

Liverpool viewed the Basel product as an alternative in case their efforts to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton failed to materialise. But the Dutchman completed a £75m move to Anfield in the January 2018 market to set a new world record fee for a defender’s transfer.

David Moyes should now see that West Ham again contend for Akanji’s transfer ahead of the summer 2022 transfer market. The Hammers will require depth at centre-half this off-season, given Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop all suffered injuries this term.

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Newcastle United should rival Arsenal interest in Borussia Dortmund star Akanji

Eddie Howe is keen to continue strengthening his Newcastle United ranks this summer and is in the market for defenders. One centre-back he has targeted is Schlotterbeck, as 90min noted the Toon view him as a huge talent and were ready to spend over £40m in January.

The Magpies remained keen to sign the German international from Freiburg this summer, per 90min, before his Borussia Dortmund switch. Schlotterbeck will instead earn €4.5m-a-season (£73k-a/w) once at the Westfalenstadion on a five-year contract, per Sky Germany.

Newcastle could now turn their attention to rivalling Arsenal’s interest in buying Akanji off Borussia Dortmund, instead. The Swiss will have a point to prove next term if he leaves the Bundesliga outfit, and could strive to show why he is a superior defender to Schlotterbeck.

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Aston Villa can find Mings upgrade with Germany swoop for Akanji

Aston Villa can find an upgrade for Tyrone Mings by swooping on the German market for a deal for Akanji. Dean Jones has claimed the Villans skipper faces an uncertain future ahead of the summer market, as the England international and Ezri Konsa could both be leaving.

Steven Gerrard is determined to take the Birmingham outfit up the table and may target a new central defensive option. So, if suitable offers came in for Mings or Konsa, Aston Villa are unlikely to turn down chances to recoup value for players signed for £20m and £12m.

Aston Villa may face a tough sell to convince Akanji to snub interest from established top sides like Arsenal and Manchester United to sign the Borussia Dortmund defender. But the Swiss can offer valuable experience of competing at the top in Germany to Gerrard’s plans.

In other news, ‘A man possessed’: O’Hara says Tottenham midfielder ‘unbelievable’ v AFC


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