Fiorentina have confirmed that Stevan Jovetic is likely to leave the club this summer, but Arsenal are set to face serious competition for the forward’s signature. Arsene Wenger is believed to have identified Jovetic as his leading transfer target this summer with the club seeking to build on securing a place in the Champions League qualifiers. And, with Fiorentina agonizingly missing out on Champions League qualification, it appears that Jovetic -- who originally asked to leave the club last year -- will be on the market.
“There is little chance of Jovetic remaining at Fiorentina,” Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle revealed, according to Italian publication Tuttosport. “He will decide his future, he knows that, with the right offer, it is up to him whether to leave or not.”
Tuttosport believes that the right offer will be in the range of €25 million (£21.25m) to €30 million (25.5m). Yet, even if Arsenal are prepared to pay such figures, they will not have a clear path to Jovetic’s signature. Della Valle has refused to rule out selling the 23-year-old to interested Serie A rivals Juventus, while he also suggested that Manchester City and Liverpool were courting the player.
There is a different story in the London Evening Standard, however, where it is claimed that Arsenal are unwilling to meet Fiorentina’s purported £30 million valuation. The report does go onto say that the Gunners anticipate Fiorentina lowering their asking price. Unlike some of their high-profile targets, Jovetic’s personal terms are unlikely to prove problematic with wages in the region of £100,000 a week set to be sufficient.
The Evening Standard does believe that Arsenal are exploring possible alternatives should they miss out on Jovetic. Chief among their options appears to be Gonzalo Higuain. Real Madrid recently revealed that the Argentina striker will be leaving the club this summer, but, again, his suitors will not be in short supply. And, as with Jovetic, Juventus appear to be Arsenal’s chief competitor.
Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that officials from the Italian champions are set to fly to Madrid on Wednesday to discuss the transfer of Higuain with the Spanish side’s president Florentino Perez. Higuain, 25, is thought to be available for around €25 million. Although he has often been alternated in recent seasons with Karim Benzema, Higuain has been a regular scorer for Madrid.
Arsenal are also among a number of clubs to be linked with a move for Aston Villa front man Christian Benteke. Having scored 19 goals in his debut Premier League season, the Belgium international is in high demand. The 22-year-old’s agent recently hinted that his client would require a bumper new contract if he was to stay with the Midlands club. Villa manager Paul Lambert has revealed that negotiations are underway, although he did not appear overly confident.
"We have been speaking for the last few weeks there so we will see what happens," Lambert said, according to Goal.com. "I think it’s important we keep the nucleus of lads we have here and add to that. It’s not just about one individual. Christian, since the turn of the year, is only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in goal-scoring.”
After Wenger revealed last week that the club was close to agreeing a deal for Auxerre striker Yaya Sanogo, the France Under-21 international has revealed that he is already eagerly anticipating his move to the Emirates. The 20-year-old is out of contract in the summer, but Auxerre will be due compensation for developing the youngster.
“Arsenal could be a great club for me, I scored nine goals this season with Auxerre and they think I can improve my level in England," Sanogo told Sky Sports. "I am pleased to be following in the footsteps of Abou Diaby who came through from Auxerre. There are many teams interested in me, but Arsenal is my choice."