Long-time target still on Arsenal’s ‘radar’; Man Utd, Chelsea ‘sure’ player ‘welcomes’ Prem move

Jason Soutar
Reported Arsenal target Dusan Vlahovic looks dejected during a match

Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic now ‘welcomes’ a move to the Premier League after snubbing Arsenal last year, according to reports in Italy.

Vlahovic was reportedly Arsenal’s number-one target during last season’s winter transfer window.

Mikel Arteta was pursuing the then-Fiorentina hitman with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang surplus to requirements.

With the Gunners in a battle to finish in the top four in the Premier League and without Champions League football, the Serbian striker was reluctant to move to north London.

He instead held out for a move to Serie A giants Juventus in a transfer that did not go down too well with the Fiorentina fan base. Vlahovic received a brutal reception when he returned to Florence for a Serie A clash during the second half of last season.

Snubbing a move to Arsenal possibly cost the Londoners a top-four finish in 2021-22 as Arteta opted against bringing in a new striker after missing out on Vlahovic.

Judging by the fact Vlahovic has only just joined Juventus and Arsenal completed the signing of Gabriel Jesus last summer, you would expect rumours of a move to the Emirates for the former to no longer be circulating, but that is not the case.

Arsenal continue to be linked with the big Serbian, who is not enjoying the best of times in Turin with his new club struggling domestically and finishing third in their Champions League group, to join the English side in the Europa League knockout stage.

The player is currently sidelined and the Old Lady have actually performed better without him and with Moise Kean leading the line.

Juventus will have to overcome Nantes in the Europa play-off round if they are to stand a chance of taking on the Gunners, who went straight through to the last 16 as Group A winners.

That would be a very interesting encounter, with Vlahovic taking on the team and manager he blatantly snubbed.

That is if the 22-year-old is a Juventus player come the end of the winter transfer window.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, there is plenty of interest coming from the Premier League.

Arsenal may be in the market for a new striker with Gabriel Jesus out until the mid-February at the earliest, though with Mykhaylo Mudryk likely to join, you would not expect Arteta to spend big money on another forward with Eddie Nketiah capable of leading the line in Jesus’ absence.

Having said that, Vlahovic remains on Arsenal’s ‘radar’ while other clubs in England ‘monitor’ his situation in Italy.

Before joining Juventus, it is said the Gunners ‘looked hard’ at the former Fiorentina man – who would now ‘welcome’ a move to the Premier League, a year on from snubbing precisely that.

With Arsenal currently seven points clear at the top of the Premier League and lacking depth up top, Vlahovic may now be keen, but I feel like Arteta will tell him exactly where to go.

Manchester United and Chelsea, on the other hand, are much more likely destinations for the 22-year-old Serbia international.

Both are on the lookout for a new No. 9. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is failing to impress at Stamford Bridge, while Armando Broja is out for the rest of the season and Kai Havertz is not a natural striker.

Scoring goals is definitely a weakness for Graham Potter’s side at the moment and Vlahovic could be the perfect man to come in.

RB Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku is expected to join in the summer when a £52million release clause in his contract becomes active. A January move seems unlikely knowing he will be available for what is regarded as a bargain price in six months’ time.

United are eager to sign an out-and-out striker this month following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Erik ten Hag’s only options in that position are Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford – who are both more effective playing off the left, particularly the latter.

And the Dutch manager admitted after his side’s win at Wolves on New Year’s Eve that he needs to bring in a new striker in the winter window but insists the club will not spend for the sake of it.

Despite the history between Vlahovic and Arsenal, it is safe to say that United have been linked with the player more than any other Premier League club in recent months.

If the price is right, it would be a strong signing, but given the fact he is young, a proven goalscorer, cost them over €81million, and under contract until 2026, Juventus will probably ask for an exorbitant fee.

The report does add that Juventus would need to be ‘convinced’ to sell him this month.

Vlahovic spent three-and-a-half years at Fiorentina, joining them for €3.2m, meaning the Florence outfit made a staggering profit when he was sold in 2022.

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