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Man Utd, Chelsea make contact after seeing Arsenal ruled out of defender hunt

Manchester United and Chelsea have made contact for Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Edmond Tapsoba, according to reports.

Tapsoba has outlined his potential since joining Leverkusen in January 2020. He started 29 games in the 2020-21 Bundesliga and scored once. The defender has impressed with the transition from Portuguese to German football and could next test himself in another league.

The Premier League seems to be Tapsoba’s next destination, although Leverkusen have made it known that they are planning to keep him for next season. Even so, links with Arsenal have persisted for some time.

But they appear to have ended now, after SportBILD provided an update on his future.

According to the German newspaper, Arsenal will not be able to sign Tapsoba this summer after their low Premier League finish. They missed out on European football after coming eighth.

However, Tapsoba could still end up in the Premier League as Manchester United and Chelsea have now joined the race to sign him.

United were linked with Tapsoba back in March, when it was claimed they had been told to scout him. It appears they took that advice, as they are now in the running for his signature.

So too are Chelsea, though, who are looking for an additional defensive reinforcement to eventually succeed Thiago Silva. They have been linked with several Bundesliga players as Thomas Tuchel looks back to his homeland and Tapsoba is the latest suggestion.

With two Premier League giants now in the running to sign him, Leverkusen may struggle to keep Tapsoba. However, BILD add that they may wait until the end of next season before making formal bids.

Still only 22, the Burkina Faso international has plenty of time left on his contract, which runs until 2026. United and Chelsea will be seeing how he progresses in that time before making their decision – or they could act earlier if they feel the urge to.

Tapsoba won’t come cheap

Leverkusen already sold one of their key players last summer when Kai Havertz moved to Chelsea.

If Tapsoba is to follow a similar, or even identical route, then it could cost a fee almost as large as the Champions League winner’s.

Back in March, Leverkusen director of sport Simon Rolfes warned: “I am not surprised that Eddy’s quality arouses interest. But the player is not for sale.”

He then added that it would take an “immoral” offer, similar to what they got for Havertz, for them to consider a sale.

Havertz cost Chelsea around £75m when he made the move.

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