Premier League • England

Arsenal get serious in lethal striker chase with huge, improved offer readied

Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic 2021

Arsenal are prepared to raise the stakes and launch an €80m bid to sign Fiorentina’s in-demand hitman Dusan Vlahovic, per a report.

The Serbian, 21, is fast becoming one of European fo0otball’s hottest properties. Vlahovic enjoyed a breakthrough season last year when bagging 21 league goals for Fiorentina. Proving he is not a one-season wonder, Vlahovic has taken his game to greater heights this term.

Indeed, the striker – who has also been linked with Tottenham and both Manchester clubs – has notched 15 strikes in 17 matches this season.

Fiorentina chief, Rocco Commisso, aimed a thinly-veiled dig at Vlahovic’s suitors last week – who poredictably include Serie A’s master poacher, Juventus.

“I don’t know if Juventus are able to sign Vlahovic in January,” said Commiso (via Fabrizio Romano). “But I want to say to Juventus or Arsenal that we [Fiorentina] are the ‘owners’ of Vlahovic.

“They should open talks with us – not with his agents.”

As his comments suggest, Fiorentina are understood to be well aware they won’t retain Vlahovic’s services for much longer.

Arsenal ready second Vlahovic bid

Earlier this week, Goal suggested Tottenham were the frontrunners after Arsenal’s interest reportedly cooled. However, the latest update has insisted the opposite is true.

The Metro (citing Italian outlet SportMediaSet), claim Arsenal are prepared to make an €80m bid for Vlahovic. That will reportedly be their second bid and will be lined up for January.

Arsenal are interested in Wijnaldum

Arsenal are interested in PSG midfielder Gini Wijnaldum.

Should the Gunners make headway on that front, Vlahovic’s arrival could quickly assume greater importance.

Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are both in the final years of their contracts in north London. Furthermore, Folarin Balogun is expected to go out on loan, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s form has declined.

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Arteta defiant on Aubameyang rift/sale rumours

Meanwhile, Arteta has denied any rift between he and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after his questionable handling of the striker on Monday.

One of the main talking points to emerge from Arsenal’s loss to Everton on Monday was Arteta’s use of Aubameyang. When Gabriel Martinelli was taken off, Arteta originally sent on Eddie Nketiah instead of captain Aubameyang.

The Gabon international did make a cameo later on. But questions have been asked of why someone who may be leaving the club got the nod before such a senior figure.

There have been rumours of a fall-out between the pair, but Arteta denied that idea when making things clear at his latest press conference.

“I have a very good relationship with my players,” he said when asked about Aubameyang. “The first thing you have to understand is I have to make decisions to benefit the team.”

Some claims have even arisen that Arsenal could go on to sell Aubameyang, but again Arteta was defiant.

“Obviously we have never discussed something like this,” he insisted. “When players are under difficulty, what we have to give is support.”

READ MORE: Man City trying to take advantage of Arsenal bargain with sudden transfer decision