Arsenal supporters have waited with baited breath for the arrival of a striker from Serie A, but it might not be the player they were hoping for.
Reports yesterday from Sky Italia state that Inter captain Mauro Icardi is due to fly to London for talks with Arsenal this week.
At 23, the Argentinian forward is both of the age and price range to fall under the category of ‘typical Arsenal’ signing.
He scored 16 goals in 32 Serie A starts last season, which as you will no doubt surmise is a goalscoring ratio of one in two.
That’s very decent indeed for a league populated by parsimonious defences, but pales next to Gonzalo Higuain’s total of 36 goals.
Due to Danny Welbeck’s long-term injury, Arsenal need bodies up front as well as quality. It is not merely a case of finding an upgrade on Olivier Giroud.
It could be the case that Riyad Mahrez’s latest agitations towards a move away from Leicester have altered Arsenal’s transfer policy.
There is a feeling that they could perhaps ‘get away’ with a second-tier striker like Icardi if a high-class wideman was brought in as well.
The Sun on Sunday yesterday reported that Arsenal are closing in on signing young Bolton Wanderers centre back Rob Holding.
This move looked like it was near to completion when Bolton interim manager Jimmy Philips was instructed by his board to leave the defender out of the squad on the last day of the Championship season.
However, Bolton and Arsenal have something of a past when it comes to dealings over young English defenders.
Former manager Owen Coyle labelled Arsenal’s bid for Gary Cahill ‘derisory’, and Arsene Wenger responded with a scathing critique of Coyle’s position.
A move for the 20-year-old would be an interesting one, and would raise questions over the future of Calum Chambers; the two would presumably be in direct competition.
The speculation surrounding Higuaín refuses to go away either. Latest reports suggest that Juventus are the most likely buyer to approach Napoli’s £79m release clause.
It is extremely hard to envisage Arsenal paying this sum for a 28-year-old striker, though the fact Napoli would rather sell to a foreign club might be in their favour.
Icardi seems the far more feasible option, though very little of that story has come from England, raising doubts as to whether this is a ploy to gain a new contract.
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