Mikel Arteta reflects on Arsenal's defeat at Liverpool
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North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal have discovered the exact price for January transfer target Dusan Vlahovic. With a contract dispute in Fiorentina looking no closer to being resolved, the goal-hungry youngster could soon be in the shop window, although it will take a big investment for whoever decides to make their move.
With the January transfer window just weeks away, Spurs and the Gunners are in the midst of drawing up plans behind the scenes.
On paper at least, Tottenham may be the more active club given that new boss Antonio Conte reportedly arrived under the condition that he would have money to spend.
However, the immovable presence of Harry Kane up top may make the Lilywhites a less enticing prospect from Vlahovic’s perspective, with numerous other strikers consigned to the bench in recent seasons.
Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta already splashed £150million during the summer, so the board’s willingness to reach back into their pockets remains to be seen.
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Vlahovic could be a special case though, with various top clubs in Europe tailing the 21-year-old who has started this season as he finished the last.
The goals have been free-flowing since he seemingly hit a turning point in his young career at the start of last campaign, which he finished on 21 league goals.
He has already helped himself to 10 in Serie A this season, two of which went towards toppling AC Milan last weekend.
As a result, he will not come cheap, and The Athletic claim that Fiorentina will demand £67.3million for his signature.
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That is despite the notion that he is reportedly against renewing his contract in Italy, which has less than two years left to run.
Such a fee would make him Arsenal’s second-most expensive signing of all time behind Nicolas Pepe.
Across north London, it would eclipse Spurs’ record which they splashed on Tanguy Ndombele in 2019.
Although the local rivals are the two clubs spearheading the Vlahovic transfer pursuit, they are sure to be joined by other European heavyweights, while others closer to home could also follow suit.
Manchester City continue to plough on this campaign without a recognised striker, something which could be rectified in January if Pep Guardiola notifies his superiors.
Manchester United could also throw their hats into the ring, with the ageing duo of Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo providing options at present – something club legend Paul Scholes described as “embarrassing”.
“Talk about the recruitment side of this club – this is Manchester United and our two first-choice forwards are 36 and 34. That’s embarrassing,” he told BT Sport.
“For a club like Manchester United, how that’s been allowed to happen I’ll never know. You think back to the great centre-forwards we had, when they got to 30 it was probably time to go.”
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