Dayot Upamecano is highly likely to leave RB Leipzig at the end of this season and the France international will be available for $51 million due to a clause in his contract with the German Bundesliga title chasers.
According to CBS Sports insider Fabrizio Romano, Julian Nagelsmann's side will be keep hold of Upamecano and captain Marcel Sabitzer this month but both are increasingly likely to depart Red Bull Arena this coming summer.
Leipzig already have an eye on their preferred replacement for 22-year-old Upamecano with RC Strasbourg Alsace defender Mohamed Simakan, 20, the object of their attentions in France, with AC Milan also circling.
With Simakan now injured and out for around two months, Leipzig are leading the chase as Milan have made it an absolute priority to add a central defender who can play immediately to ease the burden on a squad challenging for Serie A, UEFA Europa League and Coppa Italia glory.
🩺 Le point infirmerie de ce mardi 12 janvier ⬇️— RC Strasbourg Alsace (@RCSA) January 12, 2021
Should Leipzig sign Simakan this month, the idea is that he will remain at Stade de la Meinau until the end of the season as Thierry Laurey's men battle against relegation and then join in the summer when Upamecano moves on.
So, which are the current Leipzig man's most likely destinations?
The most obvious candidates for a central defender at this time are Jurgen Klopp's men due to Virgil van Dijk's long-term absence through injury. The Reds are still in the dark about a potential return date for the Netherlands international which makes an extended period of unavailability probable.
Should Van Dijk's anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee compromise his ability to start the 2021-22 season, then Anfield could become a realistic destination for Upamecano -- not to mention attractive.
Liverpool are unwilling to spend big this month and that is possibly linked to the uncertainty over Van Dijk's recovery. The long-term solution to Klopp's defensive headaches could be capitalizing on Upamecano's relase clause to secure his services while Van Dijk works his way back to fitness.
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Liverpool will not be alone in eyeing Upamecano this summer with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men also in need of a dominant defensive presence who can be part of a future rebuild.
Mino Raiola to Sky Sport: "Pogba? I didn't talk about January, I expressed my opinion. I don't think I said a strange thing [about #MUFC]. In England everyone faints only because I said my opinion... let's leave Paul a little quiet. The new Pogba does not exist". 🔴 #manutd— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 14, 2020
With Paul Pogba expected to move on from Old Trafford this summer after agent Mino Raiola's quotes towards the end of 2020, United will likely have money to spend and some of that could go towards Upamecano at a set price that will likely be less than the potential cost of Pogba.
The Red Devils have a number of fringe figures who could be moved on to create space and funds for signing the likes of the French defender and signings Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo illustrate that United are already building for the future.
Despite the positive impact made by Thiago Silva since his arrival on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, the Brazil international is 36 and is not getting any younger.
Sooner or later, Chelsea will need to make the sort of investment in defense that they did on Timo Werner and Kai Havertz for their future attack and midfield.
Upamecano has the potential to grow into a younger Silva-type character at Stamford Bridge and would be a smart bet to help the Blues to secure their back line for years to come.
The German and European champions' interest in Upamecano is well-documented and Bayern have made the opportunistic poaching of their rivals' best players an art form over the years. At $51 million, Hansi Flick's men would be capable of activating the Frenchman's clause to bring him in.
At Allianz Arena, the former Valenciennes FC man would find a significant French contingent and their current defense looks anything but impenetrable and will likely require an upgrade this summer with Upamecano the leading name on the market and a key figure for one title rival.
Like Chelsea, the French giants are still looking to replace Silva at the heart of their defense after his departure. Captain Marquinhos and regular partner Presnel Kimpembe are a high quality central defensive pairing but PSG's depth in this position is not as good as it could or perhaps should be.
Thilo Kehrer and Abdou Diallo are not close to being in the same class as Marquinhos or Kimpembe and Danilo Pereira has made it clear that he feels more comfortable in midfield rather than defense -- as Marquinhos has stated his preference for a defensive berth over a midfield one.
PSG sporting director Leonardo was heavily linked with a move for SSC Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly before COVID-19 impacted the Ligue 1 giants' ability to spend freely and Tanguy Kouassi opting to sign professional terms with Bayern was a hammer blow to this season's plans.
In Upamecano, PSG could land a France international of great quality at a realistic price and potentially snatch him away from the club that deprived them of a youth academy graduate that they had groomed into potential starter material.