Arsenal are reportedly targeting a swoop for Napoli forward Dries Mertens amid mounting speculation over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future.
The 30-year-old striker will have just 12 months remaining on his contract come June and with no apparent breakthrough in Aubameyang’s desire to sign a new deal, a report says Arsenal officials were ready to cash in on the forward with two European heavyweights lurking.
And while Aubameyang has moved to quell speculation suggesting he could be set to leave the Gunners, rumours have persisted that Arsenal are actively looking to sell the striker.
Aubameyang also used his column in the club’s matchday programme ahead of the FA Cup tie with Leeds to insist speculation he was angling for a move away from the Emirates Stadium was wide of the mark.
“I would also like to react to some of the rumours that are going around about me in the media,” he wrote.
“People like making up stories and they should focus on what’s happening on the pitch. They talk too much and it does my head in!
“I am the Arsenal captain. I love this club. I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”
Despite those comments, speculation still exists that while the Gunners go without Champions League Aubameyang may not be happy to stay.
Barcelona have been the main club linked with a move for the Arsenal striker as the north London club sit 10th in the Premier League, 11 points off a Champions League position, for which Aubameyang is so desperate to crave.
The Belgium international would represent a cheap option for Arsenal as they line up a possible replacement for Aubameyang.
Mertens can play through the middle or out wide and would provide Mikel Arteta with a versatile solution at the top of the pitch.