Exclusive - Arsenal are set to fail in their attempt to sign coveted Red Bull Salzburg attacker Dominik Szoboszlai because the Hungarian is not convinced the Gunners are at a good enough level for him to take the next step in his blossoming career.
The 20-year-old, who has emerged as a top prospect in Austria over the last couple of seasons, is expected to complete a €25m (£23m) transfer to sister club RB Leipzig when the transfer window opens next month.
Arsenal have been in contact with the player’s representatives and the Gunners were even confident of striking a deal for Szoboszlai, whose relatively cheap release clause made him an attractive proposition. However, 90min has learned that he player believes Arsenal are no longer competing at a high enough level for him to consider moving to the Emirates Stadium.
Although he respects the club and manager Mikel Arteta, Szoboszlai does not think Arsenal would be the best choice. Their recent struggles – with the club 15th in the Premier League – and the likelihood of failing to qualify for the Champions League for a fifth consecutive season were part of that reasoning.
Having already played in this season's group stage with Salzburg, he will soon also be playing Champions League football for Leipzig in the second half of the campaign after the Red Bull-owned club reached the knockout stages at the expense of Manchester United.
There will be a chance for Arsenal and others to come back in for Szoboszlai in the future as 90min understands his contract with sister club Leipzig, which is close to being finalised, will include a release clause. However, it will be substantially higher than the €25m the Bundesliga side will need to pay to take him to eastern Germany.
Leipzig have previously used similar tactics to make profits on other players they have signed young and developed, like Naby Keita (£52m to Liverpool) and Timo Werner (£47.5m to Chelsea). Dayot Upamecano is expected to be sold on in similar circumstances next summer for £38m.