Arsenal set for Vucinic talks

The Montenegro international has been offered to the Premier League leaders but, while Juventus want to sell, the Gunners would prefer a loan deal

By Romeo Agresti in Turin & Wayne Veysey in London

Arsenal will hold talks with the agent of Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic on Monday as Arsene Wenger steps up plans to reinforce his front line.

The Serie A champions offered Vucinic to Arsenal when they were approached by the London club about the availability of his team-mate Fernando Llorente.

Wenger is considering a five-month loan deal for Vucinic but Juventus want to sell the 30-year-old and reinvest in other areas of their squad.

The Montenegro international’s agent Alessandro Lucci is believed to be due to fly to London on Monday to try to strike a deal in the final days of the January window.

However, the Gunners are in no rush to force through a transfer. They have only two more fixtures before the end of the month – an FA Cup fourth-round clash against Coventry City on Friday and a league trip to Southampton next Tuesday – and Wenger is prepared to wait until the final hours of the window to complete a deal.

Arsenal are weighing up a number of short-term forward options this month as an alternative to a more ambitious move for Schalke sensation Julian Draxler, who the Gunners believe can be developed from a wide player into a centre-forward.

Moves for the likes of Llorente and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa are now on hold until the summer, as their clubs refuse to sell.

Llorente has established himself in the Juventus team following a difficult start in Turin but Vucinic is only on the fringes of Antonio Conte’s side and has been an unused substitute in the last two matches.

Juve director general Giuseppe Marotta has admitted that Vucinic and his colleague Fabio Quagliarella would be allowed to leave Turin this month for the right price.

“We have always said that the players decide their own fate,” Marotta told Sky Sport Italia. “If one of them were to come to us and say: ‘I want to leave because I’m not getting enough chances,’ we would try to grant their request.

“Obviously that would depend on there being offers for them because, if the offers aren’t there, you can’t grant their wish.”

Wenger said in the wake of Arsenal’s win over Fulham last Saturday that claims Vucinic was close to a move to Emirates Stadium were wide of the mark.

“We are looking at potential possibilities for us to get someone in, but we are not especially in for Vucinic,” Wenger said. “Some people have visual capacities that I don’t have.

“We are not on any special case. I would love to announce something that would excite you and me, but I don’t have the possibility to do it.”

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