football

Benjamin Sesko: Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd-linked striker commits future to RB Leipzig

Benjamin Sesko has signed a new contract with RB Leipzig, ending speculation over his future.

The Slovenia striker was linked with a number of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Sesko was said to have had a release clause in his deal that would have made him available for £55m until the end of June.

However, he has now signed an improved deal with the German club until 2029 ahead of Euro 2024.

Sky Sports News understands there is a release clause in the new deal, but a gentlemen's agreement is in place for the striker to potentially leave in 2025.

Sesko's team believe the striker can further improve at RB Leipzig for now and the 21-year-old will have the chance to shine in Germany, where his Slovenia side will face England, Denmark and Serbia at Euro 2024.

The forward scored 18 goals in all competitions for Leipzig last season, including goals in each of the last seven Bundesliga matches of the campaign.

"I had a good first year at RB Leipzig and am incredibly happy to be here," Sesko said after his new deal was confirmed.

"Team, club, city, fans - the overall package is simply outstanding for me. The early contract extension was therefore the logical next step for me."

Arsenal and Manchester United are still monitoring Bologna's Joshua Zirkzee amid strong interest from AC Milan.

Both clubs are understood to be keeping a close eye on developments with the striker, who is among a number of attacking options Arsenal and United are looking at this summer

Sky in Italy are reporting Milan are still pushing to sign the 23-year-old after flying to London late last week for talks. Nothing was agreed but they remain in contact with his representatives.

Zirkzee has a £34m (€40m) release clause in his contract, which has two years left to run.

Chelsea also hoping to strengthen up front, which could see the three Premier League clubs go head-to-head in a market thin on the ground for top-class targets available at an achievable price.

Arsenal want to bring in a young striker they can develop, having turned their attention away from players such as Newcastle's Alexander Isak and Brentford's Ivan Toney.

Isak, who Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has said is off limits, would be extremely expensive, with reports suggesting a fee of £90m was a laughable proposition.

Toney, 28, would likely come cheaper as he has one year left on his deal.

Reports have suggested Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke has a release clause of £65m for certain clubs this summer, which raises the prospect of him being on the move after a 19-goal return this season.

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has expressed his desire to one day play in the Premier League and could be available this summer, but his release clause stands at around £100m.

Former Coventry striker Viktor Gyokeres has also been linked with a return to England this summer after his prolific first season in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon, scoring 29 goals in 33 league appearances.

Sky Sports News reported that Man Utd had been monitoring Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy around the winter transfer window. He finished the Bundesliga season with 28 goals in 28 games.

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

"Benjamin Sesko has been linked with a move to the Premier League for a couple of years now. A couple of years ago, there was talk of a move from Red Bull Salzburg to Manchester United before he moved to RB Leipzig.

"He's scored a lot of goals, which has led to further talk of him moving to the Premier League with Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham among the clubs interested.

"It looks like Sesko will be staying at RB Leipzig for at least another season, but we've been in the game long enough to know that just because someone signs a new contract, it doesn't mean that they're going to stay for the full length of that contract at their current club.

"When a deal is signed under these circumstances, there is usually a gentleman's agreement that not too far in the distant future, he will be allowed to leave if another club comes in for him, but in the short term he will be staying at RB Leipzig."

What does every Premier League team need in the summer transfer window? Sky Sports statistician Paul Harrison dives into the data to find out...

Few flaws can be found in a team who have finished runners-up to Manchester City in successive seasons. However, not a single Arsenal player has surpassed 16 Premier League goals in four campaigns.

This season, Kai Havertz's return of nine goals in his final 14 league appearances this season was promising, but Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus failed to reach double figures between them from a combined 54 league appearances, with neither finding the net after January.

Chelsea showed signs of progress in the final three months - losing only one of their final 15 league games - but their young squad would benefit from an injection of experience if the top four is a realistic aim.

Thiago Silva, now 39 years of age, will follow Mauricio Pochettino out of the club once his contract expires at the end of June.

The Blues had the youngest average starting XI in the division this season - despite the Brazilian starting 27 games. Replacing him will be key: they conceded eight more goals than any previous Premier League campaign.

With Erik ten Hag's future still in the balance, Manchester United's inevitable summer of upheaval could see additions in all areas of the pitch - they have struggled both defensively and offensively.

The departure of the experienced Raphael Varane will leave the club light at the back, especially with Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw's ongoing injury concerns.

They used 14 different centre-back partnerships this season and veteran Jonny Evans clocked more league appearances than any other centre-back at the club. So, a keen eye will be cast over a defence that conceded a Premier League club-record 58 goals this term.

The 2024 summer transfer window in the Premier League officially opens on Friday June 14 - the same day that Euro 2024 starts.

The window will close on August 30 at 11pm UK time in England and at midnight in Scotland.

The Premier League has brought forward Deadline Day to link up with the other major leagues in Europe. The closing dates were set following discussions with the leagues in England, Germany, Italy, Spain and France.