Dusan Vlahovic resisting move to Arsenal, claims Fiorentina chief

Fiorentina football director Joe Barone has confirmed that Dusan Vlahovic has refused to engage in talks with the club over his departure in the winter transfer window or in the coming summer transfer window, even as the club continues to receive offers for the striker.

Vlahovic, 21, has been in great form for I Viola this season, contributing to 24 goals in 24 appearances for the club (20 goals and four assists) in the 2021/22 season. He has also been impressive on the international stage, as he played a key role in helping Serbia qualify for the December 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

This news will be a blow to Arsenal, who are willing to match Fiorentina’s £66 million valuation for the big striker. However, Barone has stated that it is not over while expressing annoyance with the Serbian striker’s camp for their silence at such a critical time.

Arsenal are seeking reinforcements all over the pitch and their lack of quality was glaring as Liverpool knocked them out of the Carabao Cup last night. Two unreplied goals from Diogo Jota at the Emirates took the Reds into the final where they will face Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea for the trophy.

The Gunners dominated the Reds at the Emirates but failed to create enough chances or finish off the few chances they created. However, Jota showed them the importance of a clinical frontman by finishing the only two clear cut chances he had all game to hand Liverpool the win.

This lesson in finishing from Liverpool’s Portuguese striker has increased the calls to Arsenal to get a deal for a frontman completed as soon as possible, but the Gunners will be biting their nails over their main target Vlahovic’s stance on a transfer to London.

Paul Merson urges the Gunners to go all out for Vlahovic this January

Arsenal have scored only one goal in their last four games and Mikel Arteta’s side seem to be slipping back into the slump they suffered in the first half of the season.

Fans who paid attention may not be surprised, as most of the goals scored by the Gunners in their good run were scored by midfielders. Since ex-captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s slump, no striker has managed to score more than his four goals in the Premier League for the Gunners this season.

The performance against Liverpool led to former Gooner Paul Merson calling out to his side to make sure they sign a striker this January.

“They need a striker and they’re not making millions of chances so they need someone who’s going to be putting the ball in the back of the net,” Merson said on Sky Sports after the game.

“Until they get a centre-forward who’s going to get them 20, 25, goals a season and then we’re talking again. They’ve had your [Thierry] Henry’s, Ian Wright’s, people like that – they need a top centre-forward. You very rarely win anything without a centre forward.”

The Premier League is the only competition Arsenal are still in and Merson’s views on the lack of goals from the team have been echoed by Arteta.

“We are really disappointed not to be in the final, but we were up against a top side, we had a big moment in the first half, big moments in the second half and when you have those moments you have to score if you want to beat this opponent,” Arteta said after the game.

“We were there pushing for the game. We had corners, good situations. You have to score, you have to convert, if you want to beat a team like Liverpool.

“We need to score goals and go through. That’s why we’re out.”

Arsenal face another Eden Hazard situation with Vlahovic

Asides from the comments from Fiorentina chief Joe Barone on Vlahovic’s stance, the Gunners also face an issue similar to what made them miss out on Eden Hazard in 2012.

Hazard was close to joining Arsenal in 2012 but a deal fell through because the Gunners were not willing to settle with his agent, who demanded a commission in order to secure his player’s signature for them. The Belgian eventually went on to create history with Chelsea, who swooped in on the deal and met the agent’s demands that year.

With Manchester City lurking, Arsenal’s hierarchy will be having flashbacks to the Hazard incident after receiving Vlahovic’s agent’s demands of an £8.3 million commission fee for the Serbian’s signature.

The deal for Vlahovic will cost a lot as reports claim that the total package will cost the Gunners around £150 million, with Vlahovic demanding £160,000-a-week in wages.

Arsenal, however, have a lifeline as a loan offer with an option-to-buy fee of £7 million has been submitted by Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia for Aubameyang. This fee could offset the commision which Vlahovic agent demands.

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