Arsenal are reported to be readying an approach to sign Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi over the summer after stepping up their interest in the Italian.
The 25-year-old has been a revelation for the Serie A side this season and is enjoying his most productive season to date, having netted nine times and created five more from the 20 appearances he has made so far.
Berardi made his name playing as a central striker but this season has been deployed on the right side of the attack, improving dramatically on his record of 10 goals and four assists from 37 appearances last time out.
And it is that form that has convinced Arsenal to take a closer look at the player, with Italian publication Calciomercato claiming the Gunners have ‘activated’ their interest in the player ahead of a summer approach.
The forward is contracted to the Mapei Stadium until summer 2024, having only signed an improved deal back in October, so his potential arrival at Emirated Stadium would not come cheap.
However, his apparent €50m asking price could prove problematic for Arsenal, even if the Gunners need to bring in attacking reinforcements this summer.
But with doubts emerging over the long-term futures of both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, it is thought Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has instructed his scouts to draw up a list of would-be replacements for the duo should they be sold this summer.
Lacazette has recently lost his place in the Arsenal side to academy star Eddie Nketiah and the Frenchman last week responded to claims suggesting a clause in his deal would allow him to move on this summer if the club did not reach the Champions League.
“I didn’t know about this,” Lacazette said of the alleged exit clause.
Asked to elaborate, he said: “I did not know. Yes, I have a contract with the club so there is no point for me to leave, everybody is happy with me at the club.
“A lot of people can talk. There is always something to say so I don’t really think about this.
“If the manager, the coach, my team-mates are happy with me then that’s the most important thing.”
Fellow Gunners striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has one year left on his deal, has also been linked with a move away from North London.
“It’s really important [to keep him],” Lacazette said. “He’s one of the best or maybe he’s been the best player this season for Arsenal. Obviously I hope he’s going to stay.
“I think people should talk more about Auba and what he is doing in the game because he is more than a goalscorer, he is working a lot for the team defensively and making space for the other striker – Eddie [Nketiah] or me.
“I think if we start to win more trophies, people will talk more about what he is doing for the team.”
“If an offer arrives, be it from Milan or another club, I will evaluate it with my club,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“And if I hear that it is the right proposal, to be taken on the fly, this time I will say to Sassuolo: ‘I’ll take it’.
“Being able to choose, I would play in Liverpool.
“Changing remains difficult for me, but it no longer frightens me, I would do it.”
In other Arsenal news, Gunners striker Gabriel Martinelli has explained how Manchester United missed out on his signature – despite the Red Devils doing all the groundwork in the years prior to his arrival at the Gunners.