Arsenal are tracking Middlesbrough right back Djed Spence, according to ESPNUK. The 21-year old Englishman is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest and played for Boro before his loan. Under FA rules, therefore, he would have to be loaned back to Forest for the rest of the season if bought because a player can only play for 2 clubs in a year. Boro is said to value him between £10m and £15m.
Right back is one of the areas Arsenal are projected to shop in the summer transfer window as Mikel Arteta & Edu continue to overhaul the roster and the squad younger. Calum Chambers is out of contract after this season, although Arsenal hold a one-year option in his contract. Cedric Soares is a squad player, at best.
There is definitely a spot on the depth chart, and if Arsenal can get business done in January instead of during the summer when there might be more competition, I say go for it! Spence would be a great backup to / competition for Takehiro Tomiyasu and the pair would shore up RB for several seasons.
Spence’s performance in Forest’s 1-0 win over Arsenal in the FA Cup drew rave reviews, including from Arsenal legend Ian Wright. Said Wright:
You’re on loan from Middlesbrough and I don’t know what’s happened there, because if you can’t get into the Middlesbrough side, I don’t know what’s wrong, so I need to know the full story. But let me say, that was one of the best right-back performances I have seen for a very long time. A very long time.
I have not seen a combative, technical, swashbuckling performance like that for a very long time...whatever’s happening, whatever you’re doing, the level you’ve just shown us here is the level you have to be consistently hitting, Djed.
All seriously, that level what I saw there, you should be in the Premier League.
Arsenal face stiff competition for Spence with Tottenham, Southampton, Leeds, Brighton, and clubs outside the Premier League all interested per various reports. The Gunners have also been sporadically linked with a move for Brighton RB Tariq Lamptey in past windows.