Confident Arteta boasts Arsenal can break reported striker transfer barrier; definitive Nketiah claim

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during their 1-0 victory over Watford 2021

Mikel Arteta has claimed that Arsenal still have serious pulling power over transfers, amid reported doubt over a deal for Dusan Vlahovic.

The Gunners have made a new striker a priority after overhauling other parts of their squad in the summer. TEAMtalk understands that frozen-out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could soon leave. What’s more, Eddie Nketiah is in the final six months of his deal, so his future is also a major doubt.

But despite Alexandre Lacazette being in the same position as Nketiah, TEAMtalk has learned that Arsenal want to offer the in-form star a new two-year deal.

Nevertheless, Arsenal’s attacking ranks could soon dwindle. As such, reports have claimed that the Gunners want to sign Fiorentina striker Vlahovic in January.

What’s more, they have supposedly ‘not been put off’ after learning a move will cost £150million in total. The Serbia international has scored 16 goals this season. He also finished 2021 as the second-highest scorer in Europe’s top five leagues.

But reports have claimed that doubt remains as to whether Vlahovic and his representatives will accept the move to Arsenal. According to Arteta, though, Arsenal still have pulling power.

“Historically this club has always been targeting the best players in the world and they were always interested to come here,” the Gunners boss told a press conference.

“I can say that that hasn’t changed. Every time I’ve spoken to any player they were so willing to come.

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“That’s one of our biggest powers and our capacity to get the attention of people and join our club is a big advantage for us.”

Meanwhile, Arteta has previously admitted doubt over Nketiah’s future. However, he said on Wednesday that “he’s our player and he’s going to stay with us.”

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The England Under-21 international has had links with a transfer to Crystal Palace.

Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool was one of the other main focuses of Arteta’s press briefing.

Arteta talks Arsenal semi-final

Mikel Arteta press conference Arsenal manager before FA CUp tie with Nottingham Forest

The first leg will now take place at Anfield instead of the Emirates Stadium, as had been the plan until coronavirus cases in the Reds camp saw the match postponed last Thursday.

A week on, Arteta insisted that his team news situation remains “extremely volatile and uncertain”. He had nine players out for various reasons – coronavirus among them – for Sunday’s FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Granit Xhaka is recovering from Covid-19 and Arteta hopes to get an update on the midfielder on Wednesday.

“After having COVID they are going through that illness in a different way,” the manager said.

“Some are struggling and some are fine. Whenever we have the option to train Granit with the team we will see where he is at. I don’t know where he’ll be physically, but I know where he’ll be mentally.”

Arsenal have reached the Carabao Cup semi-finals after beating West Brom, Wimbledon and Leeds United.