Arsenal ‘ramp up’ interest in £42.7m striker as Edu ‘approves’ two transfers as huge budget is revealed

Joe Williams
Arsenal transfer target Benjamin Sesko
Benjamin Sesko has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have increased their interest in RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko ahead of the summer transfer market, according to reports.

The Gunners are on the lookout for a new striker in the summer with some pundits and former players pointing to their current strikeforce as their potential weak link this season.

Arsenal ‘ramp up’ interest in Bundesliga striker

Arsenal, who are currently two points behind leaders Manchester City, have been challenging at the top of the Premier League and the Champions League this season.

But there is a danger that they will finish a positive season with little to show after they were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday after surrendering Premier League top spot to Man City a few days earlier.

Arsenal have shared the goals out around the team well this season but there is a feeling they will need to improve on a Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah as their main senior strikers if they are to win the top prizes.

And now the Evening Standard claims Arsenal are ‘ramping up’ their pursuit of a striker with RB Leipzig’s Sesko ‘on their radar’ with Mikel Arteta looking to ‘add more firepower to his squad next season’.

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Arsenal ‘have scouted 6ft 4in Sesko as they consider their options’ but the Gunners ‘will face competition’ from Manchester United and Chelsea, who are also interested.

The Slovenian has a release clause in his contract of €50million (£42.7m), which will become active in the summer, and the 20-year-old could leave after scoring 12 goals for Leipzig this season.

And Football.London claim that Arsenal sporting director Edu has ‘approved’ two new signings at the Emirates Stadium with the Brazilian ‘set to back’ Arteta in the transfer market.

Their defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League ‘highlighted the need for a new striker and winger in the upcoming summer transfer window, with those positions now viewed as priorities which will be reinforced.’

And the Daily Mail are reporting that Arsenal will have a significant transfer budget this summer and could spend in excess of £200m to give Arteta what he needs.

Journalist Charles Watts, who has been covering Arsenal for years, has all but ruled out a summer move for Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins but did name Sesko as a more realistic option.

Watts wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Ollie Watkins is having a remarkable season. The way he took his goal on Sunday showed just how confident he is in the final third.

“He’s long been mentioned as a potential target for Arsenal, but as far as I’m aware there has never been anything close to happening when it comes to him and a move to North London. He was a big Arsenal fan growing up and he has Arsenal connections through his representatives, but that is as far as it goes.

“It’s no secret that Arsenal are looking for a new forward and of course Watkins’ name will be on any list that they have drawn up. It would have to be given the heights he has reached since joining Villa and how his all round game has improved under Unai Emery.

Watts: A move for Sesko is ‘far more realistic’ than a move for Watkins

“But I would be surprised if he is someone they would actually go for. Obviously, you can never rule anything out, but he has a long-term contract at Villa, who are a club who are financially secure and could well be competing in the Champions League next season, so they have absolutely no need to sell – it would take an astronomical offer to tempt them into doing business.

“Plus, Watkins will be 29 in December, so I just can’t see it happening. Strikers like Benjamin Sesko and Viktor Gyokeres, who both have release clauses, are probably far more realistic. But the fact is, nothing is decided yet when it comes to Arsenal’s hunt for a new striker.

“They want one and I think they will get one, but I just can’t say for now who that will be and what sort of forward it will be. Signing a top striker is notoriously difficult due to the finances involved and Edu will know he has a very difficult summer ahead of him as he looks to improve Arsenal’s frontline.”