Arsenal learn where they stand in striker hunt as hierarchy becomes clear

Date published: Monday 1st November 2021 5:50 - Samuel Bannister

Arsenal are weighing up an offer for Torino striker Andrea Belotti after his preference over his next move became clear, according to reports in Italy.

Belotti has been linked with a transfer to Arsenal for a substantial period of time. They will need to evolve their attack next summer if they lose some of their current strikers.

For example, it seems Alexandre Lacazette has little desire to extend his contract. As things stand, he will be walking away for nothing at the end of the season. Alternatively, he could even be sold in January.

But that may be a risk for an Arsenal side who also have dilemmas regarding Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun in the winter.

Nketiah, like Lacazette, is approaching the end of his contract and may be seeking a different challenge. Mikel Arteta would be happy for him to stay, but may not be able to convince him due to a lack of gametime.

Fellow academy graduate Balogun is under less pressure contractually, but is getting even less playing time so may be loaned out.

All three departing would leave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli as the only centre-forwards at Arteta’s disposal. Whoever goes, and whenever they do, the centre-forward position will be an obvious one for the Gunners to replenish.

Belotti is firmly on their radar due to a window of opportunity opening to sign him. He is yet another player whose terms (with Torino) are expiring in 2022.

The Italy international is Torino’s captain, but this could be his final season with them. It seems he is unlikely to renew his contract with the club he has represented since 2015.

According to Calciomercato, three clubs are in the running to take him as a free agent ahead of next season.

Arsenal are reportedly rivalling AC Milan and Inter for the forward, who will have turned 28 years old by the time of negotiations.

Belotti has preference between trio

Andrea Belotti Italy striker

Milan currently have veteran strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olivier Giroud, who are still capable of doing the business. But another alternative closer to his prime years would not harm.

Inter, meanwhile, are still in the process of replacing Romelu Lukaku since his summer move to Chelsea. They signed Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa to fill the gap, and the former in particular has made a fine start to life at San Siro. But again, he is in his mid-30s, so won’t necessarily be their long-term solution.

Belotti has consequently made his way onto the shortlists of all three clubs as they plan for the next few years.

Arsenal will be hopeful of luring him outside Italy for the first time in his playing career. However, Calciomercato warn that they would not be his first choice destination.

Instead, Belotti would favour a move to AC Milan, because he has supported them throughout his life.

But if Milan cannot agree terms with him, he will have a choice between their biggest rivals or Arsenal.

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