ARSENAL have made an approach for French under-21 defender Malang Sarr following his departure from OGC Nice.
Spanish outlet MARCA claims the Gunners are leading the race for the centre-back’s signature but will face stiff competition from RB Leipzig.
Sarr is available on a free transfer after letting his contract with Ligue 1 side Nice expire.
The 21-year-old will now have a queue of clubs trying to sign him with Arsenal believed to be leading the race.
Sarr was a key figure for Nice this season, having started 16 league games.
The French youngster also captained the side against Toulouse and helped keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 away win.
The Gunners are desperate for defensive reinforcements this summer, but will likely have a very tight budget following the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mikel Arteta may see the purse strings tightened even further if they miss out on European football as well this term.
Arsenal have been left to target free agents and players available on the cheap, signing Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares to permanent deals.
Sarr will likely be one of the more coveted free agents this summer, with Newcastle and Manchester United rumoured to be interested.
But Arsenal could have the edge by pairing Sarr with his compatriot William Saliba, who spent the season on loan at St. Etienne.
The defender is set to return to North London after negotiations over his stay in France were ended.
Arsenal signed Saliba from Saint-Etienne for £27million last summer but immediately loaned him back for the campaign.
Despite the Ligue 1 campaign being cancelled early due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Coupe de France final is due to take place on July 24.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta had hoped that an extension could be agreed and the centre-back would play in the final.
Yet talks broke down over a clause worth £2.25m in Saliba’s contract that would have been activated if he had played one more game for Saint-Etienne.