ARSENAL BOSS, ARTETA TARGETS NIGERIAN BORN MANUEL AKANJI

After Nwankwo Kanu and Alex Iwobi, another player of Nigerian parentage may be heading to Arsenal.  The Premier League side are reportedly lining up for Manuel Obafemi Akanji, the Borussia Dortmund centre-back who is born of a Swiss mother and a Swiss-Nigerian father

But in nationality, Akanji is a Swiss having played at both U20 and senior level for Switzerland. He made two appearances for the U-20 team on 7 September 2014 in a goalless draw with Germany and had his debut in the senior team in the 2–0 win against Faroe Island in the 2018 World Cup qualification.

He also made the 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.  Reports from various sources in England have it that Arsenal’s boss,  Mikel Arteta prioritises strengthening his defence, hence targeting Akanji.

Arsenal are thought to have failed with a bid for the ex-Basel star last summer before launching negotiations for the 24-year-old early this year.

Dortmund are said to have blocked his departure last year after losing fellow central defender Abdou Diallo to Paris Saint-Germain.

But German outlet FussballTransfers.com claim Arsenal officials then held concrete discussions with Dortmund counterparts in the last transfer window over a move this summer.

Akanji fell out of favour with coach Lucien Favre this term despite impressing last season, his first in Germany.

But he played the full 90 minutes on Saturday as Dortmund thumped Schalke  4-0 when the Bundesliga became the first league to return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And he is the type of powerful figure Arteta is believed to be keen on.

He already plays alongside Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka at international level, having won 22 caps.

Arsenal shipped 36 Premier League goals to slump to ninth before Covid-19 halted football in March.

Dortmund paid £15m for Akanji in January 2018 after he helped Basel win two Super League titles and a Swiss Cup.

The 6ft 1ins ace is under contract until 2022.