There has been further speculation about Arsenal’s attempts to add to their forward ranks this summer. A new striker is thought to feature prominently in Arsene Wenger’s thoughts to strengthen his squad in the close season.
Wenger revealed that he had an approach for Barcelona’s David Villa rejected in January but, while the 31-year-old could well be available in the summer, it has been reported that the Arsenal boss will seek younger alternatives.
Believed to be high on Wenger’s list of targets is Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic. Having struck 14 goals in Serie A last season, the versatile forward is already on 12 in the league this campaign. Fiorentina have repeatedly insist that they have no intention of selling the 23-year-old, although Jovetic was less committal about his future following his side’s win over Lazio on Sunday.
"The transfer market? It has been talked about my contract and my future since the beginning of the season and I have to repeat myself: I just [think] about getting Fiorentina into Europe,” he told Sky Italia.
"I'm focused to score as many goals as possible and to make lots of assists for teammates.
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"In June we'll see. I think only to the good of the team, of Florence and of our fans, the rest doesn't interest me. "
Much could depend on whether Fiorentina, and indeed Arsenal, qualify for the Champions League. The Viola currently sit fourth in Serie A, three points off the final Champions League place.
A new target may also have emerged with the Daily Mirror reporting that Arsenal have contacted the representatives of Gonzalo Higuain to register their interest in the Real Madrid front man.
Stories in Spain have suggested that Higuain is keen on a move to the Premier League this summer. The Argentina international has been repeatedly alternated with Karim Benzema in recent seasons, limiting his first-team appearances, yet his scoring rate has remained impressive.
There could well be much change at the Bernabeu this summer with Madrid manager Jose Mourinho widely expected to leave.
Another name said to be on Arsenal’s agenda is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Daily Mirror has reported that Gunners’ scout Giles Grimandi watched the Gabon striker in action for Saint-Etienne in their 2-2 draw with Rennes last Friday.
Newcastle are believed to have had a bid rejected for the 23-year-old in January, but it is thought that Saint-Etienne would listen to offers in excess of £12 million this summer.
Aubameyang has scored 16 goals and contributed eight assists in 27 Ligue 1 games this season.
The Milan youth product is not the only Saint-Etienne player who Arsenal were looking at on Friday, according to the Mirror. It is also reported that a check was being made on goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier. The news comes amid recent speculation that Wenger is considering bringing in an alternative to current Gunners stopper Wojciech Szczesny.
Ruffier, 26, has made just one appearance for France, albeit when every member of the 2010 World Cup squad had been suspended following their strike in South Africa.