Vlahovic set to turn down Arsenal
Arsenal are in need of a striker.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been axed as captain and ostracised from the squad, while both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah will enter the last six months of their contracts come January, with neither showing any great urgency to prolong their stay in north London.
Arsenal’s hopes of keeping hold of Eddie Nketiah have suffered another blow as the striker turned down the club’s latest contract offer.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 1, 2021
And while the idea of Serie A sensation Dusan Vlahovic, the machine-like Erling Haaland, or Sociedad star Alexander Isak are all fun, for various reasons there are major stumbling blocks to acquiring all three.
So, who else could Arsenal target? 101 take a look at three potential options that would cost less, and still provide a good level of service for the Gunners.
1. Gianluca Scamacca
Earmarked as the next headline-making talent by those that watch Serie A, Gianluca Scamacca has all the right attributes to succeed at the top level.
Currently plying his trade at Sassuolo, the six-foot-five tall Italian has a knack for knowing where the back of the net is, currently averaging a goal every 149 minutes for the Italian outfit.
There is no stopping that!
An immaculate hit from Gianluca Scamacca as Sassuolo draw level just three minutes after Milan’s opener pic.twitter.com/GFlrXhldVk
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 28, 2021
As good with his back to goal as he is in front of it, the Italian possesses good link-up play, and is a keen presser, ranking highly among strikers for pressures, tackles and interceptions in a hardworking Sassuolo side.
So what are the downsides?
Well, he is still very raw, and perhaps less well-polished than other players in his age category (he will be 23 years old come the winter transfer window).
Additionally, he is attracting interest from Juventus and, for Italians in Italy, this is often the dream move. Arsenal have played with that fire over Manuel Locatelli in the summer, and ultimately came off second best.
If Arsenal need a ready made no.9, the Sassuolo may be lower down on their list. But, should they want a malleable player with brilliant attributes and the potential to be a star, they could do far worse than Scamacca.
2. Dejan Kulusevski
Should Juventus tie a deal up for Scamacca, Arsenal could take advantage of this by lining up a Juventus man in turn, in the form of Swedish starlet Dejan Kulusevski.
The 21 year old has struggled to force his way into the side in Turin, making just 4 Serie A starts for the Old Lady this season, and reports suggest that the Italian outfit may be open to letting him go.
.@DiMarzio on Kulusevski: “Arsenal want him. They had the first contact with his agents. Juventus bought him for €35m + bonuses, so it depends on how much Arsenal want to invest on this player. I know the first contact has been made.” [Sky] #afc pic.twitter.com/lqCNaZXE2H
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) November 30, 2021
A natural winger, Kulusevski is a strong runner and dribbler with a keen eye for goal that could perhaps be moulded into a brilliant striker, with the Swedish international also possessing a fantastic work-rate that would add to Mikel Arteta’s pressing side nicely, while he is also strong in the air thanks largely to his 6 foot 1 inch frame.
However, it would add another left-footed option to Arsenal’s attack, which already consists of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Nicolas Pepe. Can Arsenal afford that, or do they need to keep a right-footed option for balance?
3. Patrick Schick
Last but not least, we come to one of the most in-form men in Europe, Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrick Schick.
Having scored 16 goals from an expected goals (xG) or just 10.32, his overperformance is the second biggest in Europe’s top five leagues (behind Giovanni Simeone), and is sure to regress closer to the mean soon enough.
However, that does not mean he is a bad striker; his non-penalty expected goals of 0.78 per 90 minutes played is good enough for second in Europe, behind only Robert Lewandowski according to fb.ref.
Robert Lewandowski – 19 ⚽️
Dusan Vlahovic – 16 ⚽️
Patrik Schick – 16 ⚽️
Mohamed Salah – 15 ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/Lblw4zqElu
— GOAL (@goal) December 25, 2021
Schick also averages nearly 2 shots on target per game, the fourth most on the continent, and has three headed goals, showing that he is a force to be reckoned with in the air too.
Now 25 years old, he is a bit older than other Arsenal targets, but is yet to be given the stage to really show his potential and, valued at just 36 million pounds by transfermarkt, would cost far less than the other strikers Arsenal have been linked with.
Could Arsenal give him the platform to be great?
Who would you go for?
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Premier League table
|5||West Ham United||19||9||31|
|11||Brighton & Hove Albion||17||-1||23|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||15|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||10|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||9|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||8|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||8|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||8|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||7|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||7|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||7|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City||7|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||7|
|Silva, Bernardo||Manchester City||7|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||7|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||6|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United||6|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City||5|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||5|
|King, Joshua||Watford FC||5|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||6|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||6|
|Laporte, Aymeric||Manchester City||1||5|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||6|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||6|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||1||4|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||0||5|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||4|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||0||5|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||1||4|
|Canos, Sergi||Brentford FC||0||5|
|Rice, Declan||West Ham United||0||5|
|Ritchie, Matt||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Westwood, Ashley||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Manquillo, Javi||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Norgaard, Christian||Brentford FC||0||5|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||5|
|Duffy, Shane||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||5|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||8|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||8|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||7|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||7|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||5|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||5|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||5|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||5|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||5|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||5|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||4|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City||4|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||4|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||4|
|Redmond, Nathan||Southampton FC||4|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||3|
|King, Joshua||Watford FC||3|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||3|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||3|