Arsenal switch target to £58m man amid ‘impossibility’ of Vlahovic deal

Joe Williams
Arsenal-linked Raul de Tomas battles with Nabil Fekir

Arsenal have switched target to Espanyol striker Raul de Tomas with any deal for Dusan Vlahovic looking dead in the water, according to reports.

The Gunners are keen to bring a striker to the Emirates Stadium this month after Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng was stripped of the captaincy in December and dropped from the team.

Aubameyang has not played for the club since the incident, while other strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are both out of contract in the summer and set to leave on free transfers.

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Fiorentina striker Vlahovic has been heavily linked and seemed to be the main striker the Gunners were chasing until recently, when it was made clear that he would prefer a move to Serie A side Juventus.

Rumours in the Daily Express suggest that Arsenal will now look to pursue other options with Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, Lille’s Jonathan David and Everton centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin all possibilities.

The Sun reckons Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic could be the man with the 24-year-old looking for for game time after only making two starts in all competitions this term.

But today Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo (via Sport Witness) claims that Arsenal are ‘weighing the option’ of bringing De Tomas – who has two caps for Spain – to north London from Espanyol.

Their interest has been brought on by the ‘impossibility’ of signing Vlahovic in the winter window and Mikel Arteta’s side have the Spaniard ‘underlined in red’ as an alternative to Vlahovic.

Espanyol will not accept ‘one euro less’ than De Tomas’ €70m (£58m) release clause with the La Liga club currently trying to tie the striker down to a new deal.

The report adds that it’s unlikely that De Tomas would leave in this window but that a deal in the summer is ‘not ruled out’.

Arteta bemoaned his side’s lack of cutting edge as they drew 0-0 against Burnley over the weekend, he said: “We have to find a way to win those games if you want to be fighting with the top teams.

“We didn’t start the game well enough, not quick enough, everything was a bit leggy and slow, it would come up and it doesn’t.

“It’s true in the first half we picked it up in the last 15, 20 minutes and we came out in the second half really strong and we had a different kind of intention.

“We were more incisive, we penetrated much more, the speed of the ball was better, we were playing forward much more, we had runs in behind, we had the right width, but at the end we didn’t show enough quality in those last 20 metres and in the box to win the match.”