Striker rejects Arsenal despite Arteta’s ‘strong pitch’; Brighton star, 43-goal Swede on ‘list of alternatives’

Jason Soutar
Arsenal: Viktor Gyokeres is an alternative to Benjamin Sesko
Viktor Gyokeres is an Arsenal alternative to Benjamin Sesko

According to reports, Arsenal made a ‘strong pitch’ to top striker target Benjamin Sesko but the Slovenian has decided to stay at RB Leipzig.

Sesko has been linked with a move to Arsenal but it was reported on Tuesday morning that he has opted to stay in Germany for at least another year.

Going down the same route as Erling Haaland at Borussia Dortmund, the 20-year-old clearly believes his development will be better served in Leipzig.

There is reportedly a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ in place between the club and player that means he can leave next summer. It is unclear if there will be a release clause in his new contract having been available for around £55m.

Arsenal will now have to turn their attention elsewhere as Mikel Arteta prioritises the signing of a new striker.

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Brentford’s Ivan Toney was strongly linked for a while but those rumours have significantly died down in recent months, with Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee now appealing to the Gunners.

Earlier this year, there was also a spell that saw Sporting hitman Viktor Gyokeres frequently linked with a move to the Emirates.

It is unclear where Arteta and director of football Edu Gaspar will turn having made a ‘strong pitch’ to sign Sesko.

This is according to transfer expert Ben Jacobs, who says the Gunners are now ‘eyeing three possible alternatives’ to the Slovenian international – who will be one of the best young stars at Euro 2024.

Jacobs says Arsenal have ‘plenty of other options on their list’ and are also looking at the aforementioned Gyokeres, who scored a ridiculous 43 goals and made 15 assists in 50 matches for Sporting in 2023/24, Brighton youngster Evan Ferguson, and Zirkzee.

The Seagulls will surely ask for at least £100m for Ferguson and knowing their selling ability, that is how much they will get when/if the 19-year-old leaves.

Jacobs wrote in his CaughtOffside column:

‘Arsenal are searching for another striker after Benjamin Sesko decided to stay at Leipzig. A renewal, on new lucrative terms, was always a concrete possibility. Arsenal’s pitch was strong, but Sesko felt staying an extra (year) was better for his development. There is a gentleman’s agreement he can still be sold in summer 2025.

Arsenal have plenty of other options on their list, including Evan Ferguson and Viktor Gyokeres. They are also keeping a very close eye on the Joshua Zirkzee situation. Milan are pushing to complete a deal, but if it falls through I expect Arsenal to be in the conversation for the Bologna striker.’

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