Arsenal could look to revive Mikel Arteta’s interest in a transfer from RB Leipzig for Mohamed Simakan having just lost summer signing Jurrien Timber to an ACL injury.
That is according to Dean Jones, who notes that Simakan is ‘one to keep an eye on’ as Arteta considers replacing Timber. The Arsenal coach is yet to rule out dipping back into the market to reinforce his backline again. He has also long admired what Simakan can bring to his side.
Arsenal considered pursuing negotiations with RB Leipzig for Simakan earlier in the summer before targeting Timber’s move from AFC Ajax. The 23-year-old impressed the Gunners with his efforts in the Bundesliga last season. But Arteta viewed Timber as their preferable target.
Arsenal consider targeting Simakan’s transfer after Timber’s injury
Timber justified Arteta’s decision with a flurry of impressive performances in pre-season, as well. He quickly established a key role in the Emirates Stadium side’s set-up through the 22-year-old’s versatility. But after shining at right and left-back, Timber sustained an ACL injury.
Now, with the natural centre-back set to miss most of the 2023/24 Premier League season, Arteta is considering replacing Timber. The Spaniard is also yet to rule out Arsenal revisiting their interest in Simakan’s transfer with the former France Under-21 talent still at RB Leipzig.
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Simakan remaining in Saxony so far this summer could encourage Arsenal to revive Arteta’s preliminary pursuit. But the Gunners may face a substantial asking price after the Marseille native signed a new contract to June 2027 in December. He is also a key player at Die Roten.
Between Domenico Tedesco and Marco Rose’s tenures at the Red Bull Arena, Simakan made 37 appearances in 2022/23. RB Leipzig’s €18m (£15.5m) arrival from Strasbourg in July 2021 also offered three goals and eight assists. He further played as a centre-half and right-back.
Arsenal and Newcastle admire the versatility of ‘the new Varane’
Rose even deployed Simakan as a right-midfielder in one game and it is the RB Leipzig star’s versatility that first piqued Arsenal’s interest in his transfer. The Guardian reported this June that the Gunners and Newcastle United were showing serious interest due to his flexibility.
Simakan’s appearances as a right-back in the Champions League last season further yielded assists against Celtic, Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk. While his former Strasbourg boss, Francois Keller, has compared him to four-time Champions League winner, Raphael Varane.
“We quickly realised that we were dealing with a phenomenon,” Keller once said, via quotes by Bundesliga.com. “He tore the place up. I said to myself that we had the new Varane. He was athletic, powerful, assured and calm.”