Chelsea and Liverpool are rivalling Bayern Munich in the race to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano this summer, according to Munich’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Sky Germany are reporting that Upamecano is Bayern’s top transfer target in the next window, with the French international having attracted interest from a host of European clubs.
The 22-year-old, who signed a contract extension with Leipzig last summer, has excelled since arriving from their sister club Red Bull Salzburg in 2017, making 138 appearances in all competitions. He played a pivotal role in Julian Nagelsmann’s side’s run to the Champions League semi-finals last term.
Bayern chief Rummenigge has confirmed talks have begun between the clubs but admits they will face stiff competition from other Premier League sides as they attempt to entice him to the Allianz Arena.
“In addition to Bayern Munich, there are at least two quite attractive clubs interested [in Upamecano],” Bayern’s CEO told Sky Germany.
“The fact is that the player is interesting, and the fact is that we will almost certainly lose David Alaba in that position.
“I can’t say if there will be other departures in that position.
“You have to let things grow in peace. We have a good relationship with Mr Volker Struth [Upamecano’s agent]. The player will know what he wants at some point.
“We have a good relationship with RB Leipzig as well. I have had a conversation with Oliver Mintzlaff [Red Bull GmbH Global Head of Soccer].
“When things become concrete, we’ll talk again.”
David Alaba is set to leave this summer on a free transfer after rejecting Bayern’s latest offer of a new deal.
Chelsea are interested in signing the Austrian, who can operate as a left-sided central defender or at left-back, and according to Rummenigge, Upamecano is another one of their targets.
“The fact that Chelsea and Liverpool are also interested in him proves that he has very good qualities. He can replace David Alaba,” he added.
Liverpool bolstered their defensive options on Deadline Day with Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak moving to Anfield from Preston and Schalke respectively to help address the centre-back selection crisis faced by Jurgen Klopp – with no senior centre-backs currently available for selection.
Klopp confirmed that Joel Matip will be sidelined for the rest of the season after he was substituted at half-time with an ankle ligament problem during the 3-1 victory away at Tottenham. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remain long-term absentees.
Defenders Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr were among a number of summer signings during the 2020 transfer window as Chelsea spent in excess of £200m on their squad.
Amid a lack of game-time, Fikayo Tomori became fifth-choice centre-back at Stamford Bridge and left the club in January to join AC Milan on loan for the rest of the season.
As well as Bayern’s Alaba, Chelsea, who made no new additions to their squad last month, are also keen on prolific Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
Upamecano has played 25 times in all competitions for Leipzig so far this term, with the Saxony club currently second in the Bundesliga table – seven points behind Bayern.
Meanwhile, Bayern have offered 28-year-old Alaba multiple contract extensions, including a £13m-a-year deal which the player rejected, but talks ceased last November.
The Austria international is free to discuss a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of Germany and Real Madrid made an offer for Alaba last month.
He reportedly attracted interest during the January transfer window from Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.