Premier League • England

Ruthless Arteta to sacrifice lethal Arsenal forward as even deadlier striker signing gets green light

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus and manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal have received the green light to pursue a striker who’s scored 21 goals this season, while a report has revealed who’s likely to be axed to free up both space and funds.

The goals have been shared around at Arsenal this season, with Gabriel Martinelli (14), Bukayo Saka (12), Martin Odegaard (10) and Gabriel Jesus (8) notching 44 in the league between them.

Jesus’ tally would be higher if not for a knee injury he picked up at the World Cup while playing for Brazil. However, Jesus’ impact on this current Arsenal team extends far beyond just putting the ball in the net.

The former Man City hitman is at the vanguard of Arsenal’s press and he’s also taken his link-up and hold-up play to new heights this term.

However, according to Italian outlet, manager Mikel Arteta is sizing up stiff competition for the Brazilian.

They report the Gunners are in the mix for Lille’s Jonathan David and the French side are deemed ‘ready to sell’.

The Canada international, 23, is currently the joint-top scorer with Kylian Mbappe in Ligue 1 this season. Both have struck 19 goals, with David’s overall tally for the campaign sitting at 21 after a pair of goals in the Coupe de France.

However, Lille currently sit nine points outside of the final Champions League spot and as such, are reportedly willing to cash in on their most saleable asset at season’s end.

Calcio’s article centres mainly on the interest coming from AC Milan. The Rossoneri want to lighten the load on Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao with Divock Origi and Ante Rebic both flopping at the San Siro.

However, AC will struggle to deal with Arsenal’s financial power if the figures for David become inflated. A transfer valuation isn’t cited in the piece, though he’s valued at a hefty €60m by Transfermarkt – exactly double the €30m Lille paid Gent in 2020.

Calcio note it’s Arsenal above all others who are providing the stiffest competition for AC Milan. The report then states a David arrival in north London could coincide with a Folarin Balogun exit.

The 21-year-old has come close to matching David while on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims this term. Balogun has 18 goals to his name, though despite his exploits, it’s unclear whether he has a future back at the Emirates.

Eddie Nketiah is Jesus’ chief back-up at present and Calcio suggest Balogun could be sold this summer while his value is at its peak.

To that end, the Times recently claimed Arsenal will listen to offers for Balogun this summer. They then labelled an exit at season’s end ‘likely’.

Ironically enough, Balogun is also on AC Milan’s radar, meaning both AC and Arsenal might conclude the summer landing new strikers they greatly admire.

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