Premier League • England

Edu green lights massive Arsenal striker signing from Italy despite learning Gunners must pay £15m more than rivals

Edu is keen to bring Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee to Arsenal

Edu is keen to bring Joshua Zirkzee to Arsenal

Arsenal sporting director Edu has reportedly decided to push through the signing of Joshua Zirkzee, despite learning the Gunners need to pay a £15m premium on top of his exit clause to secure his signing ahead of his rival suitors.

The Gunners were top of the table at Christmas to leave fans dreaming that perhaps this could be their year and bring an end their 20-year wait be crowned English champions. However, a disastrous festive period saw Arsenal lose three games on the spin to leave them tumbling down the Premier League table to fourth and see them crash out the FA Cup after a home defeat to Liverpool.

Indeed, with the Premier League now underdoing its staggered two-week break, Arsenal could find themselves going into their next game, at home to Crystal Palace on January 20, outside the top four if Tottenham win against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The big issue with Arsenal of late has been a lack of goals, with the Gunners only netting two goals in their last four matches. That will certainly frustrate Mikel Arteta, having seen his side carve out some great chances in all three of their recent matches, only their wastefulness in front of goal to effectively cost them in each match.

Now with the January window open for business, Arsenal have an immediate chance to right those wrongs and bring in a new striker.

And with Arteta willing to listen to offers for Eddie Nketiah to finance such a move, it seems Edu has sprung into action to try and find an attacking upgrade that can help reignite their title push.

READ MORE ~ Worst finishers in the Premier League based on xG: Not one Arsenal star makes top 10

Arsenal ready to pay premium fee to land Joshua Zirkzee

With a move for their top target Ivan Toney taken off the table by Brentford, who will demand a £100m fee, TEAMtalk this week revealed that the new deal he is poised to sign with the Bees will contain an exit clause making a summer exit all the more possible.

However, Arteta wants to sign a new striker this month and, after we revealed that they are yet to make a move for Getafe’s Borja Mayoral, despite suggestions an offer had been made, it’s since emerged that Bologna’s Zirkzee is now the club’s No 1 target.

The Netherlands Under-21 international has developed into one of Serie A’s most feared strikers this season, having moved to Bologna from Bayern Munich in summer 2022.

And having taken his time to settle into his new surroundings, the 6ft 4in frontman has bagged eight times in 16 games this season for a Bologna side who are surprise contenders to seal a top-four finish this season.

Now reports in Italy are adamant that Thiago Motta’s side have an enormous battle to retain the services of their star striker this month with Arsenal set to make their move.

It was reported that the Gunners had learned of a €40m (£34.4m) exit clause in the striker’s contract, making a possible deal look attractive.

However, la Gazzetta dello Sport reports that that €40m clause only applies to his former club Bayern Munich, who craftily negotiated a buy-back arrangement over the 22-year-old when he departed some 18 months ago.

“It’s only valid for Bayern Munich,” sporting director Marco Di Vaio confirmed to the Italian paper.

Edu sanctions striker signing

As a result, it’s claimed Bologna have told Arsenal they will need to pay a premium of around €17.5m (£15m) more in addition to that sum if they are to consider the sale of their star man now.

Under the conditions of his contract, it’s reported Bologna still retain the right to sell the striker to whom they like, despite the clause giving Bayern favourability.

However, Bayern have no desire to sign a new striker of their own, having splashed out what will amount to a €100m fee to land on Harry Kane last summer.

With Arsenal now given a free hit at his signing, it’s claimed Edu is ready to sign off on what will ultimately be a €50m (£43m) investment for Zirkzee.

But if the Gunners can claw back around £30m for Nketiah – and Crystal Palace are among his admirers – it will reduce Arsenal’s total outlay and make the deal all the more easier to swallow.

Zirkzee has also been linked with Manchester United and Newcastle this month, but the premium fee needed to land the striker has seemingly scared them both away and left the Gunners as the forward’s sole suitors.

DON’T MISSArsenal terminate disastrous attacker deal to give Arteta brand new headache