Premier League • England

Arsenal go all out for £80m striker signing, as Arteta installs dubious Prem star as risky option two

Juventus players Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa

Mikel Arteta is seeking a new centre-forward who’ll add a totally different dimension to his side, and a report has revealed a risky Premier League move will be targeted if the ‘priority’ £80m deal falls through.

The Gunners were held to a second successive draw in the Premier League on Sunday to heighten fears they’ll be reeled in by Man City. Arsenal looked devoid of ideas in the second half against West Ham, with none of Arteta’s substitutions able to change the course of the game.

To give him side a new dimension in attack, Arteta is seeking a summer signing of a striker who is ‘strong’, ‘powerful’ and will be ‘physically demanding’ to play against for opposing centre-backs, per Football Insider.

To that end, a two-man shortlist has been compiled, with the headline attraction that of Dusan Vlahovic.

The Serbia international was on the move just 16 months ago when joining Juventus from Fiorentina. The 23-year-old cost a hefty €80m (including add-ons), though might not remain in Turin for much longer.

Due to a 15-point deduction in Serie A (that Juve are appealing), Max Allegri’s side look destined to miss out on top four. As such, they’ll have a hole in their finances next season and Vlahovic is among those who could be axed to balance the books.

Calciomercato recently reported Juve would seek to make a profit on Vlahovic. A €90m (approx. £80m) price tag was cited.

Now, FI state Arteta has instructed Arsenal’s decision-makers to provide him with a more physically imposing frontman and the 6ft 2in tall Vlahovic is his ‘priority’ option.

Vlhaovic was heavily linked with Arsenal during the 2022 winter window before ultimately joining Juventus. Clearly, Arsenal and more specifically Arteta’s interest has not gone away.

Back-up option named

But if Vlahovic evades Arsenal for a second time, FI add Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been installed as the fall-back option.

Calvert-Lewin is another to have drawn frequent links with the Gunners. However, they generally came at a time when Calvert-Lewin was on the rise, something that can no longer be said.

Indeed, the 26-year-old has been limited to just 12 appearances across all competitions this term. Injuries have plagued his campaign, but when fit, he’s struggled in front of goal anyway.

He’s bagged just a single strike this season and Everton’s lack of cutting edge up front is playing a major role in their struggles at the foot of the table.

Calvert-Lewin scored 36 goals in a fine two-year spell during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaigns. However, in the near-two seasons since then he’s notched just six strikes.

Combined with his injury issues, Calvert-Lewin would unquestionably represent a risky option for Arsenal. As such, hopes will be high his deal won’t be needed in the event No 1 target Vlahovic can be plucked from Juventus.

A key indication of whether Arsenal will ramp up their striker search this summer will be the future of Folarin Balogun.

The homegrown striker is refusing to sign a new contract and the Times claimed Arsenal will listen to offers at season’s end.

RB Leipzig and AC Milan are both circling over a player who’ll cost a minimum of £35m, according to Sky Germany.

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