Premier League • England

Fiorentina chief destroys Dusan Vlahovic as row breaks out over Arsenal transfer failure

Dusan Vlahovic, Fiorentina striker in Serie A action against Salernitana

Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone has torn into Dusan Vlahovic and his agents for the way they engineered his move to Juventus – and wasted everyone’s time over negotiations with Arsenal.

Serbian striker Vlahovic was a major target for Arsenal, among other admirers, throughout the January transfer window. He would have taken their attack to the next level amid uncertainties surrounding the futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah.

Ultimately, the latter duo stayed (but are out of contract at the end of the season). But Aubameyang is completing a move to Barcelona and will not be replaced.

Arsenal could therefore regret missing out on Vlahovic – but it seems like they never had much of a chance once Juventus got involved.

The Serie A side signed the centre-forward from Fiorentina for a fee in the region of €80m.

And now, at the unveiling of the player at a press conference, he has explained why it was easy to join Juve.

However, the transfer has left Barone with something of a bitter taste. Indeed, Vlahovic is the latest in a long line of big-name La Viola stars who have moved to the Bianconeri.

And Barone has indicated the striker used the interest from Arsenal to help push his move to Juve. Furthermore, he is unhappy with Vlahovic for the way in which he also used Fiorentina.

“It was all very complicated. One day Dusan was messing with the fans. At the end of November, I tried to close the renewal, but his agents were dishonest and liars,” Commisso said, as cited by Calciomercato.

“We discussed, the meeting was also good, then I was waiting for answers. The next day we gave him the appointment to close. But instead of getting closer to negotiation, they brought us another huge surprise: the contract of €4/5m net a year was no longer enough.

“Dusan wanted €8m net a year. Agent also raised the commission figure: they wanted 10 percent on future resale and exclusivity.”

Arsenal talks prove fruitless

Barone was also unhappy after sending a negotiating team to London to talk with Arsenal.

Arsenal savings on Auba will enable a huge summer

Arsenal savings on Auba will enable a huge summer

They may have lost out big for now, but in the long run, Arsenal may have set themselves up for success.

And he is indicating that Vlahovic was merely wasting everyone’s time.

“My managers went to England to deal with foreign clubs, but they [Vlahović’s camp] always said no. They probably already had an agreement with Juventus and perhaps even as a free agent.

“His agents had the intention of expiring and ruining Fiorentina as is often happening now. They wanted to make themselves rich on our skin.”

Vlahovic unfazed by Ronaldo succession and Champions League

Vlahovic, meanwhile, will be wearing the number seven shirt for his new club, following in the footsteps of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

But the 22-year-old does not feel any pressure to have the number on his back.

He said: “The No.7 jersey represents nothing. All the numbers are important here. I chose it because it’s the closest to No.9.

“I am here to help my teammates and reach our targets. The shirt number is not important.

“Determination and commitment are what matter the most. I don’t care about the rest. The most important thing is to win games.”

Some of those games will be in the Champions League, a tournament Vlahovic has never played in before.

Eager to show he belongs at the top level, he added: “It will be thrilling [to make my Champions League debut].

“I try to work hard and be focused on myself. I try to be focused at any time, I don’t know where I’ll get, but I’ll give my best to go far.”

READ MORE: Horror show for Aubameyang as Barcelona new boy faces undignified Xavi axe