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Arsenal track French and German youngsters to strengthen defence

Odds-on 2/7 FA Cup favourites Arsenal are weighing up two summer swoops to reinforce their rear-guard.

Arsene Wenger is after France Under-21 international Aymeric Laporte and German defender Sebastian Jung, who has had a senior call-up for his country in the last year.

Left-footed Athletic Bilbao centre back Laporte, who turns 20 in May, has been a regular under Ernesto Valverde in La Liga this term. He has made 30 appearances in Spain’s top-flight and helped the Basque outfit keep nine clean sheets.

Earning three Les Bleus Under-21 caps under former Bayern Munich favourite Willy Sagnol, Laporte is under contract in Bilbao until 2018. Rumours coming out of Germany claim the France youth coach has recommended him to his former club, but the Gunners and Barcelona are also in the hunt.

This interest in Laporte has pushed his valuation up to a reported £30m, however, but Arsenal were prepared to pay big money last summer to land Mesut Ozil, so Wenger will not baulk at that fee.

Jung, 23, meanwhile is closing in on joining the Gunners for a reported £7m, after his agent revealed strong interest from the north London outfit.

“We know Arsenal are very strongly on his trail for the summer,” Mino Grillo told a German newspaper. “They have had scouts watching him in the Bundesliga.”

Frankfurt must sell Jung this summer, or risk losing him for nothing next year. He has been a surprise source of assists, laying on 10 for teammates in all competitions this season.

Arsenal have been linked with established internationals Lukasz Piszczek and Daryl Janmaat, as Wenger seeks a replacement for the out of contract Bacary Sagna, but Jung is understood to be their top target.

Negotiations with Frankfurt are expected to step up when the Bundesliga and Premier League seasons reach an end. The Gunners are still trying to fend Everton off in the race for a top four finish and are 2/9 to achieve that.