Liverpool join Arsenal in the transfer race for Southampton defender Armel Bella-Kotchap

Liverpool have joined Arsenal in the transfer race for Armel Bella-Kotchap, who could be available if Southampton get relegated from the Premier League.

Armel Bella-Kotchap

Armel Bella-Kotchap, 21, joined Southampton from German club Bochum last summer and has impressed with his displays in an otherwise disappointing overall campaign for the club. He has featured in 25 matches in all formats, registering two assists. Although the Saints are deeply embroiled in a relegation battle and look likely to end up in the Championship at the end of the season, the young defender could end up staying in the Premier League.

There are quite a few clubs vying for Bella-Kotchap’s signature. Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked with the 21-year-old centre-back, who was selected in the German squad for the Qatar World Cup last year.

Both Liverpool and Arsenal have reportedly monitored the two-cap German international in the past and could revive their interest in him this summer. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are also keeping tabs on him.

Liverpool could offload Joel Matip and Joe Gomez in the summer

While Liverpool’s priority is to overhaul their midfield unit, they are also on the lookout for a central defender. Jurgen Klopp is not happy with the performances of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip at the heart of Liverpool’s defence this season and could offload them during the summer transfer window.

The Reds boss wants to bring in a defender to rotate with Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate next season, and he could revive his interest in Armel Bella-Kotchap. If Southampton get relegated, Bella-Kotchap could be available for a paltry £17 million. In that case, it could be an absolute steal for Liverpool.

Arsenal in the hunt for William Saliba’s back-up

William Saliba has been a driving force behind Arsenal’s title charge this campaign, forming a really strong partnership alongside Gabriel in central defence. However, the Frenchman has missed the last few games since suffering a back injury during Arsenal’s Europa League defeat to Sporting CP in March.

The Gunners have royally missed Saliba in their last four league games, where they have managed to pick up only three points, and Mikel Arteta feels the injury absence of his French defender has undermined his team’s title hopes. In order to avoid a drop off in quality as well as strengthen the squad in preparation for next season’s Champions League campaign, Arteta is eyeing a centre-back.

Armel Bella-Kotchap has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, and he could prove to be a solid option to improve Arsenal’s squad depth. The German international will be tempted to join the Gunners if there is a decent offer on the table, and the fact that Arteta’s side will play in the Champions League next campaign could give them the edge over Liverpool in the defender’s pursuit.

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