A provocative title for a Friday morning, I know, but when I was checking my Twitter feed I saw that it was awash with people asking whether or not we’d be in for the French international.

He’s young, strong, having an excellent season with Leipzig and has one year left on his deal in the summer, with a release clause of just north of £50million. We all know Arsenal have shown an interest but as yet nothing has been formed up.

Let me put this on the table now though:

I’d love it if we signed him.

He looks a beast of a player and with a few centre halves north of 30, a couple who are currently injured or injury prone, it could be a mouthwatering prospect if he joined us along with Saliba in the summer.

But it won’t happen. Sorry to burst your bubble with realism but I just can’t see it. And here’s my thinking why.

Saliba’s arrival

Of course both players could play together and of course they would have a young enough age profile for us to hope that the future central defensive pairing would work. And yes, their playing styles would compliment each other, I believe. But Arsenal could be out of all European football next season and the riches that it brings. We can all scoff at the Europa League, but a trip to the final gets you around £20-£25million I believe (don’t quote me exactly, because it’s a complicated breakdown I couldn’t be arse to calculate exactly) and if we don’t have that cash, I can’t see us splashing £50million on a centre half when we already have to cough up the vast bulk of the £30million for Saliba.

We’ve already got loads of centre backs

And that’s a fact. Of course we could offload some, but rarely do football clubs bin so many players. As it stands we have the following on our books in the summer:

  • Luiz
  • Sokratis
  • Mustafi
  • Holding
  • Chambers
  • Mavropanos
  • Saliba
  • And the way Flamengo were talking about the Pablo Mari deal, that could also turn into a permanent signing too. That gives us eight centre backs. Chambers is out so that’s seven. Mustafi will surely be on his way, so that’s six. Luiz has started to look very valuable of late in terms of leadership so I can’t see him being moved. Mavropanos and Holding are perhaps the ones to make way but I doubt Holding will.
  • So unless the plans are to bin off the two Greeks – which I’m not sure it is – as well as not both with Mari – which, again, I think that’s been bought as a perm addition in the summer – then I can’t see that there will be space for Upamecano.
  • And let me reiterate at this juncture – it makes me sad too.
  • We might not be able to offer Champions League football

  • I think at this stage we have to admit that Champions League football is probably an outside bet. There are some very strong teams in the Europa – stronger than last year – and unless we suddenly turn in the form and momentum of champions, then it’s probably LG unlikely. We have Olympiakos who are no mugs, but beyond that there are a host of other good teams, so I’m not exactly overly confident. And, with no Champions League football and no Europa League football (if that happens), it makes us a less attractive option for a player like Upemencano.
  • European’s elite will be in for him

    I saw a few people saying that the Premier League is his preference, that Guendouzi had been tapping him up, that we’d already been talking to his representatives for some time. All apparently true but as much as that makes it sound like we’re holding a good set of cards, the reality in modern day football is that money talks. We don’t have the money or firepower of so many of the big clubs with Champions League cash. We can’t offer access to the big prizes at the moment.

    I remember that we were in the lead of Higuain’s signature. Remember that? We’d been speaking to him longer than most teams, yet when it came down to it, he went to a club willing to offer more for his transfer and more for his wages. I seem to recall the same happened with Mata to Chelski. We’d been talking to Valencia before them, yet Chelski came in with the cash and the better offer.

    These examples I give simply to show that just because you look like you’re further down the line with the relationship building of a particular player, doesn’t really mean anything when the ace up the sleeve of cold, hard, cash is the ultimate winner.

    If Barca, Bayern, United, Man City, come calling, for example, then we aren’t even going to get remotely close to his signature.

    Sad conclusions 🙁

    Sorry folks. I don’t want to slap you round the face with the wet kipper of realism, but I think the opportunity to sign Dayot Upamecano has probably passed us by. I cross my fingers that some kind of minor miracle can happen, but I think at this stage we just have to accept it won’t, and move on.

    That’s about that for today. Catch you tomorrow with some press conference thoughts.