Premier League • England

Odd winner in Vlahovic transfer race with Arsenal, Tottenham both named

Steve Pearson
Dusan Vlahovic, Fiorentina striker in Serie A action against Lazio

The big winner in the Dusan Vlahovic transfer race has been revealed after a report surprisingly claimed the striker’s price plummeted.

The Serbian, 21, is fast becoming one of European football’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.

He is operating at around a goal-per-game for La Viola this term with 17 goals in 18 matches. That type of return is enough to make Europe’s elite stand up and take note.

Accordingly, Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham have all been linked with the hitman. And with his contract expiring in the summer of 2023 and no new deal on the horizon, Fiorentina are expected to cash in in the coming windows.

Vlahovic had been touted as a potential successor to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal. The 32-year-old is in the wilderness after being relieved of the captain’s armband.

A bid of around £68m had been speculated as enough to secure a Vlahovic transfer. However, Goal then reported Vlahovic’s stellar form has seen that figure rise to £85m.

Price tag tumbles in Vlahovic transfer race

But according to Sport Witness (citing Italian outlet La Repubblica), Vlahovic’s price has in fact dropped, not risen.

That’s apparently because Fiorentina harbour genuine fears he will walk away for free when his contract expires. In order to ensure that scenario does not play out, they could sanction a deal at a lower price point.

Man City: Vlahovic in, Torres out

City have joined the race to sign the Serbian forward, while talks of Barcelona target Torres go on.

Nevertheless, suitors will have to ‘spend big anyway’ to get a Vlahovic transfer over the line. That’s because the Serbian’s agent, Darko Ristic, is said to be commanding a ‘€10m commission’ to help facilitate a deal.

Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham are all namechecked as interested parties in the race. But in La Repubblica’s mind, the real winner will be Vlahovic’s agent.

Where next for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? Six possible destinations for the Arsenal striker

Ballsy Arteta goes big with Aubameyang punishment

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta is prepared to roll the dice over Aubameyang after a report revealed the extent of the Arsenal manager’s proposed punishment.

Arteta ruled the 32-year-old out of selection contention for their last two league matches against Southampton and West Ham. That followed Aubameyang being stripped of the club’s captaincy following a disciplinary breach.

Arteta then confirmed his centre-forward will again be overlooked for the trip to Leeds on Saturday.

However, according to the Telegraph, that will only be the beginning for the Gabon superstar. Per their report, his exile from the Arsenal team could last for another two months until mid-February.

Firstly, they state Aubameyang is ‘no longer training with the first team.’ Despite a hectic fixture list looming over the festive period, that situation is not expected to change until he reports for AFCON duty in early January.

At that point, Aubameyang will link up with Gabon at the tournament in Cameroon.

If Gabon progress to the latter stages of the tournament, Aubameyang wouldn’t return until well into February. The Telegraph article states Aubameyang is ‘not expected to play for the club again’ until after he returns from AFCON.

READ MORE: Arsenal thought process explained after January loan deal ramps up