Exclusive: Expert explains how Man City will complicate potential Arsenal transfer this summer

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Arsenal have been linked with RB Leipzig defender Mohamed Simakan but Jonathan Johnson admits the transfer could be complicated by Manchester City’s pursuit of Josko Gvardiol this summer.

Writing exclusively for CaughtOffside, Johnson says he can’t see Simakan leaving Leipzig in the same summer that they also sell his defensive partner Gvardiol, so City have probably made this deal impossible for Arsenal for the time being.

Still, a future move could be one to look at anyway as the Gunners now seem focused on signing Jurrien Timber from Ajax instead.

Simakan is another top talent, however, and Johnson rates him very highly, so can see big clubs being in the mix for him again in summer 2024, with Leipzig perhaps managing to keep him for one more season as they did with Christopher Nkunku this time last year.

Mohamed Simakan in action for RB Leipzig

“Mohamed Simakan is continuing to impress at RB Leipzig and I’m aware there have been some reports of interest from Arsenal,” Johnson said.

“I’m not personally aware of anything concrete from them in particular, and they seem to have moved on and gone for Jurrien Timber as their priority in that position anyway.

“Still, it’s no surprise that top clubs are starting to pay serious attention to Simakan, though what I will say is that I don’t see Leipzig selling him and Josko Gvardiol in the same summer. Given that Gvardiol seems to be closing in on a move away and is of great interest to Manchester City, I think we should probably expect Simakan to stay in Germany for at least one more year. And as much as I’m a big fan of Simakan, it’s probably fair to say that Gvardiol is closer to being ready to fly the nest than Simakan is.

“Even if Simakan doesn’t move this summer, he’s been on the radar in France for quite some time and I think we can expect to keep seeing those calibre of clubs showing an interest in him.

“The next step for him is surely to break into the senior French national set-up, and then I expect a move to a big European giant will follow. Leipzig have once again shown themselves to be an excellent springboard for players like this and I think Simakan will probably be another high-profile sale of theirs, even if he ends up initially being in a similar situation to Christopher Nkunku, where he needs to stay one more year with the expectation that he’ll move on in 12 months’ time.”

Arsenal have had a great summer so far, but it’s certainly not ideal that City are once again working on such a high-profile transfer that simultaneously hurts their own plans.

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