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Dayot Upamecano agent not ruining much

Dayot Upamecano has played down big-money transfers this summer due to the coronavirus. While that means his client is unlikely to join Arsenal, in reality, he has not ruined much.

The transfer window will be very different this year. Football clubs are currently running without any matchday or television revenue, which is almost all of their revenue, and the world is financially on its knees. Talk of £50-plus million transfer is simply futile. Even £20 million deals that were previously seen as somewhat willy-nilly have been cast into doubt.

For Arsenal, this is hugely problematic. There was hope that the club would be able to assemble a team capable of challenging for a top-four place once again under the guidance of new head coach Mikel Arteta. Now, any spending that was possible, of which there was limited expected, has been eradicated.

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These issues are extended throughout the entire market, with clubs struggling to afford the normal fees, players’ astronomical wages under scrutiny, and the need to sell greater than ever with many clubs requiring to offload their ‘assets’ in a bid to stay afloat.

This weekend, the agent of Dayot Upamecano, a 21-year-old centre-back who was set to be one of the chief names on the transfer market, has heavily hinted that his client will remain with RB Leipzig because of the changing financial landscape that the elite clubs now face.

“I don’t believe large transfers will take place this summer,” Volker Struth told German outlet Sport 1 via The Metro. “And I think Upamecano is a player who will demand a large fee. So the statement has already been made.”

This, of course, has been billed as Arsenal missing out on their star defender who would have solved their defensive issues. And to some extent, that is true. The Gunners were interested in Upamecano and would have liked to sign him this summer. But that is where the extent ends.

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Yes, the club might have viewed as Upamecano as the ideal solution for the backline, but so did almost every other elite club in world football. Many have been — and still are — queuing up to sign Upamecano in the summer, a queue that has only been accentuated by his contract, which expires next summer and may force Leipzig to sell.

Even in a hypothetical world where Arsenal could afford Upamecano, they were still facing a major uphill task to convince him to make the north London switch. Not only are they are a less attractive landing spot than many of the Champions League-based teams also vying for his signature, but they might be a step down from Leipzig, who have already qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals and are still in the Bundesliga title race.

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So yes, Upamecano’s agent might be ‘ruining’ Arsenal’s chances of signing him. But that was never a true possibility. The Gunners, like everyone else in world football, will have to look for more affordable and realistic targets.

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