Friday 9 December 2016

Arsene Wenger finally ready to end hunt for striker with Edinson Cavani bid

Published 31/08/2015 | 08:14

Paris St Germain's Edinson Cavani (R) celebrates with team mate Angel Di Maria after scoring the first goal for the team during their Ligue 1 soccer match against Monaco at Louis II stadium in Monaco last night
Paris St Germain's Edinson Cavani (R) celebrates with team mate Angel Di Maria after scoring the first goal for the team during their Ligue 1 soccer match against Monaco at Louis II stadium in Monaco last night

Arsene Wenger wants a striker. Arsene Wenger needs a striker. And yet, despite the backing of the Arsenal board (Wenger was memorably backed by director Lord Harris, who claimed that money would be no object if the right “superstar striker” was identified) Arsene Wenger does not have a striker. He has only hours to rectify this situation.

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You’re familiar with all the big names involved, of course. And the likelihood is that, if Wenger is going to get a new man to lead his front line before the window slams shut, it is likely to be a player that has already been heavily linked with the club. Such as Edinson Cavani.

The Spanish publication Fichajes are claiming that Arsenal’s stodgy performance up-front against 10 men Newcastle—Theo Walcott was poor when tasked with leading the line, whilst Olivier Giroud was frustratingly wasteful late on—has finally convinced Wenger that the time for action is now. And Cavani is seen as a player of the necessary calibre, that it would also actually be possible to sign in less than 48 hours.

That is because PSG have always been clear over the Uruguayan’s asking price—a cool £44m—as well as the fact that Cavani himself is keen on a move away from Paris. Although he is far from agitating for a move away from the Ligue 1 champions, Cavani is said to be frustrated at repeatedly being played out of position in a wide role, and there has also been speculation over a rift between him and the club’s star man, Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Wenger is known to be a fan of Cavani, and the 28 year olds goalscoring record at PSG is impressive. He has 34 goals in 65 league games across his first two seasons at the club, averaging over a goal every other game, and he managed to score a brace in yesterday’s game away to Monaco. At Napoli, his club prior to moving to France, his record is even better: he scored 78 goals in just 104 league games.

It is this kind of clinical edge that has been missing from Arsenal during their underwhelming start to the season, and this may just persuade Wenger that the time to act is now.

Wenger’s late interest in Cavani may also have been strengthened by Inter Milan’s decision to reject a transfer offer for their forward Mauro Icardi. At least according to the Daily Star.

Their source is the Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli, who has written for publications including FourFourTwo and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Inter are believed to have rejected the approach outright, before an asking price for the player could even be mooted. There remains a strong conviction at the Emirates that the club could sign just about any player in the world given their level of financial backing, but Wenger needs a striker quickly. And the transfer of Icardi promises to be as protracted as they come, especially as his contract with Inter is thought to include a number of complicated clauses.

Icardi, who is 22 and Argentinian, joined Inter from Sampdoria in 2013. He went on to score 9 goals in his first Serie A season, before netting an impressive 22 goals in 36 appearances last year, which saw him finish the campaign with the Capocannoniere for the top scorer in the league.

And finally, the Spanish news outlet Fichajes are claiming that Arsenal have moved ahead of Everton and Tottenham in the race to sign the Ukraine international Andriy Yarmolenko from Dynamo Kiev.

Yarmolenko’s first choice was to join Barcelona, but Everton appeared to be closing in on his signature before both Arsenal and Dortmund expressed a late interest.

Yarmolenko—who has scored an impressive 111 goals in just over 300 appearances for Kyiv, and who netted a hat-trick for his country in their recent Euro 2016 qualifier against Luxembourg—will be able to leave his club on a free transfer in the summer, upon the expiration of his contract. However Kyiv are minded to sell him now for a smaller fraction of his market value, and he could be allowed to leave for as little as £8.7m, according to the Daily Express.

Arsenal now face a scramble to complete the deal before the window closes. And Fichajes claim that Arsenal’s manager has been in direct contact with the player’s agent, in an attempt to strengthen his attacking options before the window closes.

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