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£15m Premier League defender lauded after Arsenal were offered the chance to sign him

Arsenal were offered Manuel Akanji this summer and the defender is now earning praise after joining Manchester City.

Akanji has been highly rated since appearing despite Basel’s rank.

It’s easy to forget that Liverpool wanted Akanji back in 2017 and considered him an alternative to Virgil van Dijk before the Dutchman finalized his move to Anfield.

Akanji ended up at Borussia Dortmund and had ups and downs in Germany before being sold this summer.

Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Arsenal offered by Manuel Akanji

It has been clear for some time that Dortmund are happy that Akanji is moving.

First, Dortmund secured two new centre-backs of their own by signing German international duo Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck.

Later, Akanji was offered to Arsenal after the Swiss defender was told he was allowed to leave the Bundesliga club.

Akanji’s asking price was around £21m and Arsenal decided against accepting the offer.

A move to sign another right-footed defender made no sense to Arsenal at the time.

Ben White, William Saliba and Rob Holding are all on hand to help Mikel Arteta and a left-footer – like Lisandro Martinez, who is a target for Arsenal – makes much more sense.

There was a real surprise at the end of the window even though Akanji did move to the Premier League, joining Manchester City for £15m – a price reduction that Arsenal quoted.

Akanji has impressed in three games for City and was the star of the show for Switzerland against Spain on Saturday, bagging a goal and an assist.

Now competing with Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Nathan Ake, Akanji is a surprise signing for City but appears to be getting off to a good start.

City defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis – currently on loan at Burnley – has now told The Times it was ‘difficult’ to see City sign Akanji.

Harwood-Bellis added that Akanji was ‘unreal’ as impressed with his performances at City so far.

“Obviously it’s hard to see them signing other centre-backs, but if you look at the quality of the centre-backs they’ve signed, it’s tough,” said Harwood-Bellis. “He’s not real with the others. Everyone knows it’s difficult but, to be honest, I’m just focused on what I have to do with Burnley and hopefully Burnley get promoted.”

Arsenal will be comfortable with their defenders, especially with Saliba emerging as a Premier League star, but City will be happy that the Gunners did not accept the offer this summer.

In other news, Journalist: The £20m man who wants Tottenham to move is now more likely to join Nottingham Forest

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