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Arsenal 'join race for in-demand Championship teenager'

Arsenal 'join race for in-demand Championship teenager'
© Reuters
Arsenal reportedly join the race to sign 18-year-old Leeds United starlet Archie Gray, also heavily linked with Bayern Munich.

Arsenal are reportedly the latest club to show an interest in signing a highly-rated Championship teenager.

The 2023-24 campaign was a breakthrough one for 18-year-old Leeds United man Archie Gray, who excelled as both a right-back and central midfielder for Daniel Farke's side.

Gray turned out on 52 occasions for the Whites in all tournaments, registering one goal and two assists as Farke's men reached the playoff final, where they lost 1-0 to Southampton.

Despite Leeds' failure to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, Gray's rise to stardom was one of their success stories, and the 2006-born teenager earned his first two appearances for England's Under-21s earlier this year.

As interest in Gray's services grew, Leeds tied their academy product down to a new long-term deal until 2028 in January, but they may be fighting a losing battle to keep hold of him this summer.

Leeds United's Archie Gray celebrates after the match on December 23, 2023© Reuters

Arsenal 'showing interest in Gray'

Premier League giants Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester City are all rumoured to be interested in Gray, in addition to other English top-flight sides in Crystal Palace and Everton.

La Liga champions Real Madrid and German giants Bayern Munich have supposedly been keeping tabs on Gray's performances as well, and according to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are now in the mix too.

"Finally with Arsenal, they've been one of a number of clubs linked with Archie Gray at Leeds United. There's interest in Gray from Germany and England, for sure," Romano wrote in his column for CaughtOffside.

"Leeds were hoping to keep both Gray and Crysencio Summerville but it might be difficult now after they missed out on promotion to the Premier League, so yes – I expect movement on these two players and we will see how Leeds will react."

Gray to be trialled in new position at Arsenal?

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta pictured on April 20, 2024© Reuters

While it is certainly a big maybe whether Gray dons the Arsenal kit for 2024-25, the 18-year-old joining the Gunners could open the door for him to increase his versatility further in the left-back slot.

That defensive role has been a problem area for Arsenal all season long, as Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko have lacked consistency, while Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber have caught the injury bug.

Tomiyasu ended the campaign strongly at left-back, but his favoured position is certainly on the right, so Timber should begin the 2024-25 season as Arteta's first-choice on the left after recovering from his ACL injury.

Amid claims that Arsenal are yet to begin talks to extend his deal, Zinchenko is thought to be on the radar of Bayern Munich, while Kiwior is currently the only other out-and-out centre-back in the Gunners' ranks alongside William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes.

Consequently, Gray could very well find himself playing second fiddle to Timber at left-back at the Emirates, although a move to North London would certainly come at a cost regarding his game time.

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