Arsenal already have Aubameyang replacement who can save them millions amid Vlahovic latest

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After a summer in which they signed six players and spent more than any side in Europe, one of the most exciting things to hear about Arsenal right now is that there is still more to come.

Despite securing deals for Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdalefootball.london understands that Edu is in no mood to rest on his laurels in the transfer market.

One of the areas they are likely to target is central midfield as Mikel Arteta looks to solve the problem of not being able to control matches that has blighted his Gunners side in recent weeks.

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However, the most crucial area they could be looking at is the centre forward position.

Despite his recent run of form football.london understands that Alexandre Lacazette will leave the club when his contract expires this summer, and despite public pleas from Arteta to get him to stay it seems that Eddie Nketiah will follow suit.

This will leave Arsenal relatively bare in the striking department with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the only senior option.

Gabriel Martinelli has played up front in the past, but most of the Brazilian’s games this season have come on the wings, and it is there that he has admitted he prefers playing most.

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With this in mind it is no surprise to hear that the Gunners are being linked with centre forwards from around Europe as they seek to prepare for what could be a real problem next season.

One of those names is that of Dusan Vlahovic.



Dusan Vlahovic has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal in recent days
Dusan Vlahovic has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal in recent days

The Serbian has been in fine form for Fiorentina this season scoring eight goals in 12 Serie A matches. Reports have suggested that Arsenal have agreed to pay a fee of £80 million for the striker as soon as January, and given that Aubameyang will have just one year left on his contract at the end of the season it would seem Vlahovic could be being groomed as his long term successor.

It is also worth remembering that Josh Kroenke has stated that the Gunners’ transfer policy will be to provide Arteta with young players who can grow together as a squad with the long-term aim of competing for the Premier League and Champions League trophies.

Given that Vlahovic is only 21-years-of-age that would seem to be another thing in his favour.

But before Arsenal commit a significant amount of money to what is essentially an unknown quantity at the elite level, it is worth considering a talent they already possess in their ranks.

Flo Balogun is expected to start for the England under-21s on Thursday night in their vital European Championship qualifier against the Czech Republic at Turf Moor.

Lee Carsley’s decision comes as a reward for the 20-year-old’s fine form at under-23 level for Kevin Betsy’s young Gunners side, but the former Everton midfielder has stated that Balogun needs to be pushing for more regular game time if he is to fulfil his potential.

“You need testing,” Carsley said. “Watching him in the Under 23s for Arsenal, it’s probably a little bit too easy for him and he’s passed that level. I imagine he wants to play for Arsenal and pushing for a position but it’s such a big club with a lot of competition.”

With Nketiah, Lacazette, Aubameyang and Martinelli all currently ahead of him in the pecking order, it would seem that the most sensible solution for Balogun would be to head out on loan in search of senior football in January.

Although he was keen to stress that he did not want the Hale Ender to skip any steps in his development, Arteta told football.london last month that he and academy director Per Mertesacker would asses what the best option is for the young striker before the January transfer window.



Folarin Balogun has only made one senior start for Arsenal so far this season against Brentford. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Folarin Balogun has only made one senior start for Arsenal so far this season against Brentford. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“We will see what happens,” the Spaniard said. “Again, with Flo we have a really clear project. The steps that he’s making, they are the right steps.

“Don’t forget he is really young, he hasn’t played almost any professional football, and you need to go through every phase – and don’t try to jump phases when you are not ready to do so.

“Again I’m really happy with him, he’s making the right progress and in December we will see where we are and what’s the best for him as well.”

That time is fast approaching though and it seems as though the next few months will be crucial in Balogun’s career.

Should he keep up his impressive record at under-23 level where he has 11 goals in nine matches, then surely it will be decided that a loan spell in the second half of this season is the best thing for him.

Latest reports suggest that Arsenal are not in fact actively showing an interest in Vlahovic, and with this in mind if he is able to take his chance at another club from January onwards it could be that the Gunners are best served trusting their academy product to be Aubameyang’s long-term successor than spending big on a recruit from elsewhere.

Source by Football London

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