Arsenal set to complete first January deal as defender touches down in London

Arsenal appear to be on the verge of finally wrapping up a deal for Hertha Berlin centre-back Omar Rekik after the teenage defender jetted in to London on Thursday.

The Gunners agreed a £900,000 fee with the Bundesliga side on deadline day of the summer transfer window, with the negotiations part of Matteo Geundouzi’s loan move to the German capital.

However, Arsenal ran out of time to rubberstamp the deal and Rekik remained with Hertha, though there was always an expectation that the deal would be completed in January.

The 18-year-old has now fuelled speculation that an announcement is imminent by sharing an image of him touching down in London on his Instagram stories.

While Arsenal have struggled defensively in recent weeks, fans should not expect to see Rekik in the first team any time soon with the teenager seen as a prospect for the future and he could even be immediately loaned out.

Football.London previously reported that academy manager Per Mertesacker had promised the young defender frequent participation in first-team training, but regular game time may be more beneficial.

Arsenal have already had issues with another young centre-back, William Saliba, who is yet to make his debut for the club and is likely to be loaned out in January after a return to Saint-Etienne fell through over the summer.

Although Rekik made Hertha’s Bundesliga squad on three occasions at the tail-end of last season, and has trained with the first team, he is yet to make a senior appearance for the team, only turning out for the youth side this season – likely due to his impending move to Arsenal.

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He is highly regarded and has received offers from a number of other European clubs and Arsenal will assess him first hand before making a decision on whether to loan him out or not.

Rekik was previously on the books of Manchester City, Feyenoord, PSV and Marseille before joining his older brother, Karim, at Hertha – though the latter also recently left the German side to join Sevilla.

Arsenal are expected to be active in the January window with Mikel Arteta keen to improve his squad and technical director Edu has admitted the club need a creative midfielder – though missed out on Dominik Szoboszlai, who joined RB Leipzig.

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