Arsenal look set to face stern competition if they decide to follow up their interest in Napoli striker Edinson Cavani with a summer bid.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that the Uruguayan was a player that he admired last month, but at the time ruled out a move in the January transfer window. There has been much speculation, though, that the Arsenal boss could try to make Cavani his marquee summer signing.
The potential move would be a major departure from Arsenal’s typically frugal approach in the transfer market. Cavani has a release clause of €63 million (£54m) and Napoli appear unlikely to allow the 25-year-old leave for less.
Big-spending Manchester City have also been long linked to Cavani and they appear set to pursue him at the end of the season.
“I am sure that it will not be easy for us at City to take Cavani,” said City coach Angelo Gregucci, according to the Daily Mail. “He is well worth his high price-tag and I'm sure that he would score goals at the top 10 clubs in the world.”
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“His buy-out clause is pretty high and Napoli did a good job to include that in his deal. I feel that it would be money well spent, though. He is worth every cent.”
Cavani, while not ruling out a move, appears unlikely to push for a transfer.
"All my thoughts now are on my work. I don’t know anything about offers that may have arrived in January,” he said, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’m focused on the season with Napoli and winning the Scudetto, which is the dream of all Neapolitans."
"I still have four-year contract with Napoli [he laughed when asked if it will be honored to the end, ed.]. You never know what can happen in football, so I’m only thinking of working hard each day in order to get the best results possible."
Cavani also signaled that he would be interested in a move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona.
"We’re talking about two great clubs, among the best in the world, so obviously one can be attracted to them,” he explained. “Simply naming them can raise tensions. I honestly don’t know if there are good possibilities of going to one or the other.”
Cavani is not the only striker to be linked to Arsenal of late. According to the Daily Star, Arsenal are heading the hunt for Aston Villa Striker Christian Benteke. The story states that the Belgian, who only arrived in a £7 million deal from Genk last summer, has decided to seek a move at the end of the season.
Again Arsenal are likely to face competition, with both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid also interested in the 22-year-old, according to the Star. He is said to be valued at £16 million.
It may be, though, that Wenger sees Benteke’s attributes as too similar to those of current Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.
A more complimentary forward would be Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, with whom the Gunners continue to be linked. The Daily Mirror reports that the Montenegrin is now at the top of Wenger’s wanted list for the summer.
The 23-year-old, who can play either as a main or support striker, has long been thought to be the subject of interest from Arsenal. He has scored 23 Serie A goals in 45 appearances since the start of last season.
With Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillacci looking likely to be on the move this summer, a new central defender could also be in the cards. Arsenal are said to have a long-standing interest in Paris Saint-Germain’s Mamadou Sakho and the France international has said that he could seek a move after falling down the pecking order at the nouveau-riche Ligue 1 side.
"I will do everything to play at the 2014 World Cup, but I need to be playing week in, week out," he said, according to Sky Sports.
"I cannot accept playing just a few minutes this season and next because this is a decisive moment in my career.
"At the end of the season I will sit down with my agent and club officials and clear up the situation.
"If I have to leave PSG to keep my place in the France national team, then I have no choice but to leave."