Arsenal have started talks to sign classy Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic. Arsene Wenger is determined to build a credible title contender for next season and signing Jovetic is seemingly the first step.
Jovetic has been linked with a move to Arsenal for some time. This isn't the first time Arsenal talks have been mooted. Back in March, Metro suggested the Gunners had a deal in place.
However, fresh rumors of actual talks to conclude a deal have really gained momentum in the last two days.
The main emphasis of the reports claim the Gunners will pay a fee of £20-25 million to secure Jovetic. That's the same amount Arsenal received to allow Robin van Persie to defect to Manchester United last summer.
The reports also claim Arsenal will pay Jovetic around £100,000 per week in wages. If such a deal occurs it will be a symbolic moment in Wenger's tenure.
Since the Gunners relocated to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, Wenger has run the club based on a policy of financial austerity. However, saving money by not spending big on transfers, hasn't just been about yielding to the harsh reality of paying for a new stadium.
In the age of uber-rich owners and exorbitant fees paid every transfer window, Wenger has steadfastly championed fiscal responsibility in modern football.
This has not only taken its toll on Arsenal's chances of success, but also on Wenger's professional reputation. The trophyless seasons have mounted up for the Gunners, as they have been outspent by their major rivals, the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea.
With every year that has slipped by without silverware, Wenger has been cast as an archaic figure, refusing to accept the cost of winning in today's game.
Few have commended Wenger for attempting to build through youth development and careful, selective spending. With fan pressure increasing this season in particular, flexing some financial muscle to land Jovetic could be the ideal move at the ideal time.
However, breaking the £20 million barrier would be about more than simply appeasing discontent. It's true symbolic value would be proving Arsenal are determined not to be left behind in the race for major trophies.
That's a message that needs aiming at their big-spending rivals. Given Wenger's squad trails prospective champions Manchester United by 21 points, now is the perfect time for a battle cry.
However, symbolism aside, what of the player himself? Whatever side of the spending argument you find yourself on, it will be hard for any Arsenal fan to bemoan signing Jovetic.
He is an attacker blessed with imperious quality. The Montenegro international plays everywhere across the forward line.
He's excelled on the left, but has recently spent more time through the middle for La Viola. Yet he's at his best in those hard to define areas of the pitch.
Jovetic is deadly in those ghost positions, just off a central striker and just in front of the middle lines. He has superb touch and control and can elude tackles in close spaces.
He also has the speed of thought and technique to set up teammates with sly through passes. As a goal threat, Jovetic's finishing has improved in recent seasons.
He's not a power player but Jovetic can be relied upon to pass the ball into the net with real guile. He would give Arsenal what they are missing, an intelligent, free-roaming, creative forward.
Perhaps more importantly, Jovetic would give the Gunners what they need the most. He's a true marquee player and match-winner.
If Wenger hopes to return to trophy winning relevance and not just scrap for fourth, he needs that kind of player. Jovetic would be worth spending a lot more than usual.1155575