Terry Gibson joined The Transfer Talk podcast on Friday and gave a glowing report on potential Arsenal signing Dusan Vlahovic.
He joined host Pete Graves and Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth on Friday to talk about a number of subjects around the busy first part of the January window and what is happening with the striker situation at Arsenal.
Is Vlahovic the right man to score the goals which could get Arsenal into the Champions League or might they have to wait until the summer when European qualification might even make up the Fiorentina striker’s mind on his destination.
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And what of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? Will he be back at Arsenal later this month or move on?
Why are Arsenal fans excited about Vlahovic?
Terry Gibson thinks he would fit in perfectly at The Emirates for starters.
“I’m not surprised Arsenal are interested in this type of player the way they play their football – with 4-2-3-1 they need a focal point, a player with presence up front. With Vlahovic, you get the lot. He’s got pace, mobility, he’s very, very strong, he’s over six foot tall, scores all types of goals, holds the ball up well which is really important in the way Arsenal want to play.
“Alexandre Lacazette is playing there at the moment but they are two entirely different players, so if you want to get the ball up the pitch and you want the striker to hold on to it Vlahovic comes into his own. That would help the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard to join up with the play, to hold the ball longer in the attacking half of the pitch.
“He’s a left footer but he scores all types of goals – a poacher but he doesn’t mind striking from outside the penalty area. He doesn’t mind getting on the end of crosses.”
The second coming of Erling Haaland…
“There is similarity in his play to Haaland – two big, strong, powerful, quick strikers and both lethal when they get an opportunity in front of goal. If Arsenal were able to pull that off, it would be an outstanding signing.
“Only 21 years of age, Serbian attacker – similar to Luka Jovic who went through a similar phase, was scoring loads of goals and Real Madrid bought him. He hasn’t had the playing time and hasn’t been a success so I guess there is – as with any big-money transfer – a degree of taking a gamble, but at 21 he looks like he’s got the lot.”
Is there a deal to be done with Fiorentina?
Dharmesh Sheth thinks it might be a tough one to conclude this month but don’t rule it out.
“I think Arsenal could do a deal. If you look back to the summer they were the biggest spenders in the Premier League – close to £135m – so they are backing Mikel Arteta. I just think now, for them to shop for the elite players it’s going to require them to get into the Champions League.
“This could be the season they could do it – it looks pretty open. This is a big opportunity for the likes of Arsenal and Spurs, and West Ham as well. Can they break into that top four because once you do it once, you can bring in players in that summer transfer window because you can offer Champions League football.
“The interest we know is very real. He’s one of a number of strikers Arsenal are looking at. It looks like it could be potentially a difficult deal – not impossible – to do in this transfer window. Summer is more likely, particularly from Vlahovic’s side because he would want to assess every single option that he’s got.
“He wants to play Champions League football. Fiorentina are in a bit of a situation because he’s only got 18 months left on his contract and I think they would look at big offers if they came in this transfer window. There’s still a possibility that something could happen.
“We had Mina Rzouki on one of the transfer shows the other day and she is very knowledgeable about all things Italian football. She said one of the issues that Vlahovic has got, aside of the finances and the club, is he is very focused on who the coach will be. He’s very interested in who would be coaching him to play football, to improve him, so that would be a huge factor in deciding where he would go.”
Where does Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future stand?
Pete Graves asked Dharmesh what might happen with Arsenal’s striking situation, with Aubameyang absent from the squad and reliance on other options including impending free agent Alexandre Lacazette.
“You mentioned the word overhaul there and it’s certainly got that feel just now about what they are trying to do in the striker department. Given the position some of these players are in; their contract situation, their age as well and what they themselves want to do in their short-term and long-term future.
“Aubameyang is the big one; dropped for that [Southampton] game, stripped of the captaincy, hasn’t featured since and now with Gabon at the Africa Cup Of Nations.
“The easy part of all of this, I am told, if offers did come in for PEA, Arsenal would consider those offers. The hard bit – he’s got 18 months left on his contract, he’s 32, so if a club wanted to do a permanent deal you are looking at a transfer fee for someone of that age and then his wages.
“Why not an ‘easy’ loan deal until the end of the season – he gets first-team football and then maybe Arsenal can get a transfer fee in the summer. That is easier said than done – who is going to pay the wages on a loan deal? Will the loaning club want Arsenal to pay a percentage.
“His contract is worth £350,000 a week. Arsenal have put themselves in a situation here – it’s almost public knowledge they would listen to offers and that moves figures south rather than what they might consider fair for a player of his ability.”
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Who will be on the move in January?
The January transfer window opened on Saturday, January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday, January 31.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.