Manchester United and Arsenal are leading the chase for Switzerland international defender Manuel Akanji with Juventus also interested as they look to add the centre-back to their squads
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Manuel Akanji is reportedly set to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer with the Premier League likely to be his next destination.
The 26-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, although the Bundesliga side have made attempts to keep the defender at the club. But it doesn’t seem like they have been successful with their negotiations, with Akanji keen to explore a new adventure.
According to German outlet BILD, another season for Akanji at Dortmund is almost ‘out of the question’ with the Swiss player ‘probably’ heading to England. It is understood Manchester United and Arsenal are the two most likely parties with both wanting to add a centre-back to their ranks.
Akanji is apparently liked by United’s interim manager Ralf Rangnick but it is said the club have a number of other defensive targets. Jurrien Timber and Pau Torres have both been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks.
Incoming United boss Erik ten Hag would like to bolster his back-line given the club’s horrific defensive record this season. They have conceded the joint-sixth most goals in the Premier League (56), and if it wasn’t for some heroics David de Gea, it could have been a whole lot worse.
A ball-playing centre-back, Akanji is confident in possession and would suit Ten Hag’s brand of football – where he requires his defenders to play out from the back. Although Dortmund aren’t renowned for dominating possession in the Bundesliga, Akanji has proven he is more than capable with the ball at his feet.
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Meanwhile, Arsenal need cover at centre-back following the sale of Callum Chambers to Aston Villa in January. They have just three senior players in that position with Rob Holding, Ben White and Gabriel and it is understood Mikel Arteta wants to add one or two as they look to compete in Europe next season.
William Saliba will return from his loan spell at Marseille, but it is unknown whether he will be part of the Gunners’ plans for the new season. Like United, Torres has been linked with a move to north London after impressing for Villarreal, while Joachim Anderson has been tipped to make the switch to the Emirates Stadium.
Dortmund have already supposedly made two additions as they try and replace Akanji. Nicolas Sule is set to join for around £15million from rivals Bayern Munich and Nick Schlotterbeck is expected to sign from Freiburg.
Sport1 claim Dortmund are keen on landing Ajax striker Sebastian Haller, but must offload at least one player from their squad first to raise funds. Juventus are also said to be interested in Akanji after long-serving centre-back Giorgio Chiellini confirmed he would be leaving the club in the summer.