Arsenal Reportedly Lead Race to Sign Jakub Jankto After Juventus Withdraw

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 28, 2017

NAPLES, ITALY - APRIL 15: Jakub Jankto of Udinese Calcio in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Udinese Calcio at Stadio San Paolo on April 15, 2017 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)
Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Arsenal are reportedly in pole position to sign Udinese midfielder Jakub Jankto after Serie A giants Juventus pulled out of the race for his signature. 

Italian website Calciomercato.com reported the Bianconeri will instead turn their attentions elsewhere in the transfer market, adding Jankto's "most likely next destination seems to be the Premier League."

The 21-year-old has continued to progress this season after enjoying a breakout campaign in Udine last term, when he racked up an impressive tally of 24 starts from 29 Serie A appearances.

Jankto has recorded one goal and one assist in 10 league starts for the Little Zebras this season, and ESPN FC's David Amoyal alluded to the Czech starlet as one name to keep an eye on at the beginning of the campaign:

Arsenal could well have need of some central talent in the near future. Charlotte Duncker of the Manchester Evening News recently cited a report from Turkish newspaper Sabah, which said Mesut Ozil has received an offer to join Manchester United.

Ozil's contract is set to expire at the end of this season, as are the contracts of Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere, each of whom will likely need replacing if they are to leave the club in 2018.

Juventus' withdrawal from the Jankto race is positive news as far as Arsenal's hopes of landing the player are concerned, although there may still be other attractive destinations that arise in the coming months.

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The Czech Republic international may consider many clubs a step up from his current setting with Udinese, and BT Sport commentator Adam Summerton recently sung the midfielder's praises:

However, Jankto has another three-and-a-half years left to run on the contract he extended in April of this year, per Football Italia, meaning Udinese may yet look to play hard ball and keep their prospect a while longer.

The former Slavia Prague starlet is receiving regular first-team minutes and may not want to put his development at risk, although it seems Arsenal are now in the driving seat if they decide to push ahead with a deal.