Aston Villa v Arsenal: Pictures
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Arsenal are reportedly keeping tabs on two of Europe’s hottest strikers, Lautaro Martinez and Victor Osimhen – and neither is expected to come cheap. The Gunners may have to fend off interest from local rivals Tottenham when it comes to the former and a host of potential suitors for the latter.
Tottenham were heavily linked with Inter Milan’s Martinez last summer before Chelsea splashed £98million on his team-mate and strike partner, Romelu Lukaku. The Argentine could reunite with former boss Antonio Conte at Spurs, but Arsenal have also placed him on their hit list.
CBS Sports claim that he and Napoli frontman Osimhen have been ‘scouted extensively’ by the Gunners as they weigh up their options before the transfer window swings open at the end of the season. The duo have been added to the long-admired trio of Jonathan David, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alexander Isak as transfer options up top.
Manager Mikel Arteta is likely to be handed funds to improve the squad in his own image after an impressive season at the helm. He is reportedly keen on strikers with a rare blend of youth and top-level experience, criteria which the duo in question slot into comfortably.
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Martinez is having his best season in front of goal for Inter having scored 14 in just 27 Serie A matches. He and Lukaku forged a fearsome ‘little and large’ partnership under Conte last season that propelled the Nerazzurri to their first league title in over a decade. Calciomercato claim that the Italian side would only let him go for £59m.
Osimhen is a year younger at 23 and has already surpassed 10 league goals for the fourth consecutive season. Napoli shelled out almost £70m to sign him back in 2020, so it would presumably set Arsenal back a pretty penny if they were to lure him away this summer.
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Both players have attracted interest from other European heavyweights in the past so both could command hefty wages, despite being relatively young. Martinez is contracted to Inter until 2026 and Osimhen to Napoli until 2025, so neither club will be under any pressure to sell in a few months’ time.
The calibre of striker Arsenal are able to attract may ultimately depend on whether they qualify for next season’s Champions League. Arteta and co currently sit in the coveted fourth spot but, with Spurs breathing down their necks, they could be pipped to both Europe’s top-tier competition and Martinez’s signature if things go the Lilywhites’ way.
The Gunners are virtually certain to sign a striker whether the time is right or not. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s stint in north London ended on a sour note in January, and both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah have seemingly opted for a free exit this summer rather than renewed terms.
Manchester United and Manchester City are expected, alongside Arsenal, to compete with other transfer market heavyweights for the continent’s top strikers. In the Red Devils’ case, interim boss Ralf Rangnick claims it is ‘obvious’ that they will do so, while the Sky Blues are also looking to finally add a frontman to their senior ranks.
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