Mikel Arteta after Arsenal's 2-0 win against Newcastle
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Arsenal have been handed a boost in their pursuit of a new striker but reportedly might need to wait before they can pull the trigger on a deal to take prolific Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic to the Emirates Stadium. Mikel Arteta has long been linked with adding fresh options to his front line and it seems he might have moved a step closer.
Vlahovic has been in fine form for the Serie A side and is garnering a reputation as one of the most highly rated goalscorers in European football.
The 21-year-old has scored 13 times in 15 appearances across all competitions this season, including 11 in the Italian top-flight.
That is despite his club’s inconsistent form of seven wins and seven defeats from 14 matches.
Vlahovic’s form is something from which Arsenal could benefit right now. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored just four goals in 12 Premier League appearances.
Alexandre Lacazette, who is out of contract next summer and could leave for free, has scored just once in the league. Third choice striker Eddie Nketiah finds himself in a similar contract quandary.
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And Arsenal could upgrade on Arteta’s forward options with the addition of Vlahovic – but might need to wait a little longer than they might have hoped.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, the Serbia international will cost £70million in January but his valuation could decrease to as little as £40m in the summer.
That will of course make him one of the most sought-after forwards ahead of the start of next season. The Gunners – who are fifth in the top-flight – will expect plenty of competition.
The Daily Mail last week reported that Manchester United had entered the race to sign Vlahovic.
Edinson Cavani’s departure and Cristiano Ronaldo’s age might prompt the Red Devils to look for a younger, more dynamic striker in the summer. Indeed, that will be dependent on who is appointed as the permanent head coach at Old Trafford.
The Mail add that AC Milan and Juventus will rival Arsenal and United for Vlahovic. As will the Gunners’ North London foes Tottenham and the newly heavily imbursed Newcastle.
A deal for Vlahovic, whose contract ends in 2023 and he has reportedly decided not to renew, would continue the huge investment in the Arsenal squad under Arteta’s management.
The Spaniard and technical director Edu were heavily involved in the most recent summer transfer window and were the biggest spenders in the Premier League.
Over £150m was spent on the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares, Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard.
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Arsenal favoured young players with experience of top-tier football. Vlahovic therefore easily fits the profile of their preferred transfer targets.
“It was a really complicated market,” Arteta said in September.
“We had a lot of things to do, I think we had 16 or 17 transactions in total, which is a lot.
“The club has made a big effort. We had support from the owners to try to do it and we had to recruit in the terms that we could. And I am very pleased.”
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