Arsenal have learnt that one of Mikel Arteta’s top summer targets, Odilon Kossounou, will cost more than double the fee they initially expected to spend.
Kossounou, 20, spent six months with Hammarby after joining from ASEC Abidjan in January 2019. The defender impressed in just nine appearances, with Club Brugge snapping him up in the summer of 2019.
He made just four starts among seven Belgium First Division A appearances during 2019-2020. But he has enjoyed 22 league outings for the runaway league leaders this term.
Brugge are 15 points clear of Royal Antwerp and Kossounou has played his part. The Ivory Coast international is rated highly in the European game.
With an ability to read the game well and time his tackles to perfection, he is in demand. Arsenal joined Wolves in being linked over the weekend.
The Gunners had expected the centre-half to cost around £8.5m – £10m – a price Arsenal were happy to meet.
However, with both Inter Milan and AC Milan joining the scramble, his price appears to have dramatically changed.
Indeed, Voetbal Belgie now claims any club wanting to land Kossounou this summer will have to part with £20m.
The Gunners allowed a number of high-profile stars to move on in January as they cleared the deck. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Sead Kolasinac were all allowed to move on. However, the exodus will not stop there, with Edu also looking to offload at least two more as part of Arsenal’s rebuilding.