Arsenal linked with Dusan Vlahovic
Reports yesterday emerged that Arsenal had made first contact with Serbian and Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic, who has begun the new Serie A season where he left off last campaign, netting 8 goals in 11 games for an average Fiorentina side.
As per the generally reliable Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Mikel Arteta and co. have agreed to put forward a package worth 80 million euros (including add-ons) as early as January 2022.
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) November 5, 2021
The major sticking point? Vlahovic himself is not interested in the move, and is thought to be happy to wait for offers from bigger clubs.
I’ve been critical of Dusan Vlahovic (21), ranking him pretty low statistically after last season (green). But he has been in much better form, particularly of late. Much more creative and effective in his duels. Showing improvement in the numbers, and he certainly looks the part pic.twitter.com/EXzIvNxiV9
— Adam Rae Voge (@adamvoge) November 5, 2021
With that in mind, 101 take a look at 5 strikers Arsenal could look to target instead.
For the purposes of the piece, we have looked exclusively at strikers 25 years old and under, that fit the mould of Arsenal’s transfer plan from last summer.
Arsenal have had a mixed track record in purchasing players from Ligue 1 outfit Lille. While Gabriel has proven a shrewd acquisition, two years on there are still massive question marks surrounding the 72 million pound signing of Nicolas Pepe, who has flattered to deceive and indeed lost his place in the Gunners side recently.
So, will it be third time lucky for the Gunners? If the form of Canadian forward Jonathan David is anything to go by, it could well be. Arsenal were linked with the then Genk man before he joined Lille, and it is easy to see why. So far this season, he has netted 8 times in 12 appearances in the French top flight, as well as netting in the Champions League.
At 21-years-old, he is not yet the finished article, but represents a raw and exciting talent. One major drawback is his height, with the 5 foot 9 inch striker likely needing players around him to thrive. Should Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka continue to excel, however, this may not be too much of a problem.
He would certainly cost less than Vlahovic, but would likely be a less attractive and successful option.
One man who would not cost less than Vlahovic is Napoli and former Lille man Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian forward departed Ligue 1 for Italian shores the year after Pepe, for an even greater fee.
While it is hard to prove good value at that price, it is certainly clear that he has impressed, netting 19 times in his fledgling Napoli career.
A rare outing without scoring for Victor Osimhen tonight ❌
But the Napoli forward still registered the most shots and most touches in the opposition box against Bologna 🥇⭐️ pic.twitter.com/3xsP9IdOJE
— LiveScore (@livescore) October 28, 2021
This season, he has found another level, netting nine times in 12 appearances across all competitions. Pacey, skillful and well-built at 6 foot 1 tall, he would prove an exciting prospect should he become available.
However, the Nigerian star is contracted until 2025 on Italy’s west coast, and having been signed for such a high price, would surely command a king’s ransom to depart for England. Probably one that will pass Arsenal by unless there is a shocking development.
Another promising talent, Alexander Isak will be a name familiar to occasional La Liga watchers, with the Real Sociedad man having been linked to Arsenal in the summer before eventually signing a new contract with the Spanish outfit.
Alexander Isak knocks in the penalty 😤
Real Sociedad take the lead! pic.twitter.com/J1t07Dp2Ew
— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) October 31, 2021
Still only 22-years-old, the Swedish striker is a player that works hard off the ball, something Mikel Arteta demands of all of his players. He has struggled at the start of the season, netting 5 goals in 12 games, but recorded a very respectable 17 La Liga goals last campaign.
At 6 foot 3 inches tall, he would certainly add a physical element to the Gunners, while he is also well aware of where the back of the net is. As for cost, he may fetch an amount not dissimilar to that offered for Vlahovic, with his new deal running until 2026. He could, however, prove a shrewd investment.
The first of two Premier League strikers on this list is Everton man Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Currently out injured, the 24-year-old netted three goals in three appearances before being sidelined, following up on an impressive 2020-21 season, in which he found the net 16 times in the Premier League.
🗣”Strong, quick, good jump, athletic, and goal scorer.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin lists his attributes when he was younger pic.twitter.com/cIOfZ6Jpml
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 1, 2021
Of course, he has a wealth of Premier League experience already, and would be almost certain to hit the ground running, something that cannot be so sure with others on this list. The Everton man is strong in the air, as well as offering good link-up play and is no slouch either.
With 150 top-flight appearances to his name already, the major sticking point would surely be the price.
However, if Arsenal are able to stump up 80 million pounds for Vlahovic, it is unlikely that Calvert-Lewin would cost too much more.
Last but not least is probably the cheapest option on this list, in the form of Brentford striker Ivan Toney. Having had a record-breaking Championship season, he has now impressed in the top flight in his, and Brentford’s, first campaign in it.
The oldest on this list at 25-years-old, Toney has scored twice and provided two assists for the Bees this season thus far, but impressed against the Gunners on the opening day of the season.
Ivan Toney ranks 1st among strikers in the Premier League for the following metrics so far this season:
◉ 100 duels won
◉ 57 aerial duels won
◉ 41 final ⅓ entries
◉ 25 penalty area entries
◉ 24 fouls won
◉ 7 through balls
◉ 5 interceptions
◉ 1.95 xA
Some player. 👏 pic.twitter.com/ATwWdjIuAE
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 1, 2021
Should he continue to develop at his current pace, he could offer a cut-price option for Arteta and Edu as they look to address the striking issue that they will be faced with when Alex Lacazette’s contract expires in June.
Who would you go for if you were in charge?
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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