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Arsenal’s hopes of landing Julian Brandt his month have evaporated after Borussia Dortmund confirmed they are counting on solutions from within their squad, after discovering the severity of Axel Witsel’s injury. The Belgian international was forced off in Dortmund’s impressive 3-1 win on the road at RB Leipzig that keeps their Bundesliga title challenge alive and the 31-year-old is now set for an extended period on the sidelines.
“Unfortunate news,” Dortmund stated on social media. “Axel Witsel suffered a torn Achilles tendon during yesterday’s match and will be out for an extended period of time. We all wish Axel a speedy and successful recovery.”
Witsel is expected to miss the European Championships this summer with the Red Devils and his absence leaves Dortmund short in central midfield.
Sporting director Michael Zorc has now revealed that the club will not turn to the transfer market to replace the former Zenit man. Instead they will find a solution from within Edin Terzic’s squad.
“We will fill this void with our own personnel,” Zorc told Sport1. “Emre [Can] did very well after stepping in as a one-to-one replacement for Axel and Jude [Bellingham] will be back from injury next week. We are not worried about this situation.”
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The decision means Arsenal target Brandt will be going nowhere this month, even if his long-term future at Signal Iduna Park is hanging in the balance.
Brandt joined Dortmund from Bayer Leverkusen for £22.1million in January 2019 and played in a variety of roles under Lucien Favre, including central midfield.
However, the former Liverpool target fell out of favour towards the end of Favre’s tenure and Arsenal have now sounded out his availability.
Mikel Arteta is looking to add more productivity to his attack behind the forwards but needs to sell before he can buy.
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The stance saw them miss out on former Salzburg man Dominik Szoboszlai, who completed an £18.5m move to RB Leipzig from their sister club earlier this month.
Last week, Dortmund chief Zorc moved quickly to dismiss reports linking Arsenal with Brandt, claiming the club are yet to receive any form of proposal from the Gunners or any other interested parties.
“A name is constantly being mentioned that actually doesn’t play a role in our deliberations at the moment, that should come to an end,” Zorc said on Brandt.
“I can only repeat; there is not even the slightest bit of anything on the table. We can’t do anything if rumours are constantly being spread that are not true.”
Another name further down Arsenal’s shortlist is former Arsene Wenger target Julian Draxler.
The German international is inside the final six months of his current deal with Paris Saint-Germain, who are open to letting him leave this month.
Leeds have also been tracking Draxler, who is looking to revive his career following a prolonged period in the cold at the Parc des Princes.
He is free to speak with other clubs and would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement ahead of a summer move.
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