Arsenal are considering their striking options as Fiorentina continue to hold firm over their £30million valuation of Stevan Jovetic, with Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain also rumoured to be on Arsene Wenger’s radar.
The Gunners have held talks with the Serie A club over Jovetic, who is manager Wenger’s top transfer target, but are unwilling to meet the asking price for the 23-year-old, reports the London Evening Standard.
Jovetic is also understood to be attracting interest from Italian champions Juventus and, while there are several potential suitors, Fiorentina insist they will not change their stance over the asking price.
However, Arsenal believe this negotiating position will soften and with personal terms unlikely to be an issue — Jovetic can expect to earn around £100,000 a week at Emirates Stadium — the club remain confident they will land their man for a lower fee.
Their belief is bolstered by the club finishing fourth in the Premier League, thereby securing a two-legged Champions League qualification play-off in August, while Fiorentina will not play in Europe’s elite competition after AC Milan pipped them to third place in Serie A.
The North-London club are keen to bolster their options up-front after neither Olivier Giroud or Lukas Podolski could provide the much needed goals that former striker Robin Van Persie produced last season.
Wenger also bowed to pressure and played Theo Walcott as a centre-forward, but again he didn’t produce the number of goals that Arsenal fans would’ve liked. Walcott has gone on to score 21 goals this season though, with most an impressive run of form late-on coming from his usual wide-right position.
Fiorentina sporting director Daniel Prade admitted Jovetic’s future will be discussed with the club’s president and owner Andrea Della Valle.
Prade told Tuttosport: “Is this his last game with us? Never say never.
“We will give a response only after a meeting between the player and Della Valle. Juventus still have not asked us about Jovetic.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal are exploring other options including Higuain.
Jose Mourinho’s impending departure from the Bernabeu Stadium has prompted uncertainty over the futures of several Madrid players and reports suggest Higuain could be available for around £19m.
Mourinho’s successor will want to determine which players will form the basis of his squad next season so Real are unlikely to countenance any bids until their new manager is confirmed, with Carlo Ancelotti keen to leave Paris St-Germain and move to Spain.
Wenger wants to act quickly in a bid to avoid the protracted summer transfer activity that has hampered Arsenal in recent seasons.
The Gunners have at least £70m to spend and can restructure their wage bill with high-earning Andrey Arshavin, on £95,000 a week, set to leave along with a number of squad players including Maroaune Chamakh, Ju-Young Park, Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci.
Based on figures from the 2011-12 season, Arsenal had the fourth-highest wage bill in the Premier League at £143m (up from £124m in the previous year). But that was before the club agreed new sponsorship deals with Emirates and Puma and before the Premier League’s new £5.5billion television deal kicks in next season.