Arsenal suffer major blow in pursuit of top transfer target

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • 16 Feb 2024 10:26 GMT
  • 3 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 2023/24

Arsenal have shortlisted Ajax's defensive prodigy Jorrel Hato for the summer transfer window, but there is now a serious hurdle in their way.

Hato has cemented his place in Ajax's first team this season, making 21 Eredivisie starts despite his tender 17 years, and his highest ETV is already tagged at €24.9 million per FootballTransfers' in-house algorithm.

Article continues under the video

Able to play at centre-back and left-back, it is understood that Mikel Arteta sees him as an ideal replacement for Jakub Kiwior, who has underwhelmed since his €25m arrival from Spezia last January.

But Arsenal might not have things all their own way with Hato's pursuit, but Dutch media reporting that he is set to sign a new contract with Ajax in March.

New Hato contract

"Jorrel Hato will extend his contract with Ajax after his 18th birthday," report the Dutch edition of ESPN. "The 17-year-old talent has agreed with the Amsterdam club on a contract until mid-2028. However, the young defender will only sign once he turns 18, which is on 7 March.

"Hato and Ajax only have to agree on a few details before the youth contract of the breakthrough defender, which runs until mid-2025, is significantly upgraded and extended by three years. No problems are expected in this regard."

Further to that report, transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano followed up with the news that Hato's new contract will not include a release clause.

Arsenal are still expected to move for the youngster, who became Ajax's youngest ever captain when he led them out earlier this season, but his current employers are doing everything possible to drive up his price.

Arteta will be backed by the board in next summer's transfer market, but their hands are tied to a degree due to FFP - hence David Raya was signed on loan in January with his £27m transfer set to be completed in the summer.

Never miss the next big transfer!

Get the latest transfer insights and analyses directly in your mailbox.