Arsenal are reportedly close to completing the signing of Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic for £24.5 million. The deal would be a major signal of intent, to begin a summer where Arsenal are set to flex their financial muscle.
Reports in The Metro claim Jovetic's agent is in London to receive Arsenal's offer and work on the terms. A similar report from Football-italia.net, suggests Arsenal have bid €28 million for the classy Montenegro frontman.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been eager to sign Jovetic for a while. Rumors of an imminent deal having been going strong for over a month.
For once Wenger is armed with the finances to make this kind of marquee signing happen. After sealing a 16th-straight top-four finish, Wenger is said to have a transfer war chest of up to £70 million, according to The Daily Mirror.
The Arsenal board are apparently keen to spend big, with Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis outlining that desire to Arsenal.com. Securing top-level talent appears to be the priority.
Wenger knows his squad needs an infusion of genuine quality if they are to mount a credible push for major trophies next season. Arsenal finished another campaign trailing the English Premier League champions by double digits.
They were also dismissed in the first knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League, for the third year running. If Wenger hopes to do more than just hold onto to Arsenal's top four status, he must recruit premium players.
Jovetic is seen as one of those players and for good reason. The 23-year-old is a crafty and classy forward, possessing the technical guile and assurance in front of goal to suit Arsenal's brand of football.
While he is far from prolific, Jovetic is a good fit for the intricate combinations Wenger likes his attackers to produce. Jovetic is a flair player and a rising star.
He is just the sort of talent Wenger can mold into a marquee performer. However, any deal may not be as easy as some reports claim.
According to The London Evening Standard, Wenger is unwilling to match Fiorentina's £30 million valuation of Jovetic.
It is a figure the Florence club have staunchly maintained represents good market value for their most talented player. Losing the chance to snare a top quality signing because of hesitancy regarding the fee, would look like more of the same fiscal caution from Wenger.
Yet the Gunners do have other needs, such as boosting their midfield ranks. Acquiring a more assured goalkeeper would also be a smart move.
However, paying big to land Jovetic would lend instant credibility to Arsenal's claims that their ambitions go beyond simply securing Champions League football.
If Wenger and Gazidis are serious about seriously competing with the likes of Chelsea and the two Manchester giants, this is a deal they have to make.