Benjamin Sesko to sign new Leipzig deal in blow for Arsenal and Chelsea

Arsenal and Chelsea have been dealt a blow after Benjamin Sesko decided to sign a new contract at RB Leipzig to end their chances of signing the Slovenia striker this summer.

Both Premier League clubs are understood to have been ready to trigger his €65m (£55m) release clause having targeted Sesko for several months. Manchester United and Tottenham had also registered an interest in the 21-year-old, who scored 18 goals in all competitions for Leipzig last season, including in seven successive Bundesliga matches at the end of the campaign.

But with his representatives said to be keen to resolve his future before the start of the Euros, where Slovenia will face England on 25 June, Sesko is understood to have agreed a new contract on improved terms after talks this week. That is believed to contain a “gentlemen’s agreement” over a future transfer in echoes of the contract extension Erling Haaland agreed with Borussia Dortmund in 2021. The Norway striker joined Manchester City a year later for £51m.

Arsenal could now reignite their interest in signing Joshua Zirkzee from Bologna, although he is also being heavily tracked by Milan. The 23-year-old Dutch forward has a €40m (£34m) release clause and scored 11 goals to help the Italian club qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Interest from Arsenal in Newcastle’s Alexander Isak and Sporting’s Viktor Gyökeres – two Sweden strikers – has dwindled due to the massive fees it would take to sign them, and a move for Brentford’s Ivan Toney also looks unlikely at this stage. Mikel Arteta would also like a left-back, central midfielder and winger but any arrivals are likely to have to be balanced by sales.

Benjamin Sesko

There is understood to be strong interest in Thomas Partey from Saudi Arabia, and Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson are also available for transfer.

The Guardian

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