Arsenal have £72m Premier League duo on four-man transfer shortlist to replace Aubameyang

Arteta comments on Arsenal transfer plans ahead of January window

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Arsenal have two Premier League strikers on a four-man shortlist of options to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang according to reports. Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Everton frontman Dominic Calvert-Lewin are both liked by the Gunners.

Calvert-Lewin, valued at £40.5million by Transfermarkt, has three goals in as many Premier League games this season but has been sidelined since September due to toe and quadriceps injuries.

The 24-year-old enjoyed the finest campaign of his career last term as he scored 21 goals in 39 matches across all competitions at Goodison Park, including 16 strikes in the league.

Watkins meanwhile, valued at £31.5m per Transfermarkt, is slightly older at 26 years old but has also enjoyed a strong 18 months since joining Aston Villa from Brentford.

Calvert-Lewin’s fellow England international scored 16 times in his debut season at Villa Park with 14 coming in the league, and has five in 16 for the Villans so far this year.

ESPN say that both of the pair are admired by Arsenal as they prepare to replace Aubameyang with the Gabon international’s Emirates future the subject of increasing speculation.

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Disciplinary issues have seen manager Mikel Arteta strip Aubameyang of the club captaincy and the Gunners are not opposed to offers for the 32-year-old in January.

The report says Arsenal are already drawing up plans for the African’s eventual departure with Calvert-Lewin and Watkins just two options they are looking at.

Both would surely cost more than their Transfermarkt values given Watkins cost Villa £28m a year-and-a-half ago, and any fee for Calvert-Lewin could surpass £50m.

ESPN say Arteta is a big fan of Watkins’ attributes and his versatility in particular, given he can operate in several attacking roles.

Arsenal have not made contact with Villa about the player with a January move thought to be highly unlikely, though a summer swoop for the 25-year-old is possible.

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The north London club are also poised to lose Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah at the end of the season with the pair’s contracts due to expire.

And as they keep their options open, Arsenal have also shortlisted Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak and Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic.

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Vlahovic, only 21, could prove to be the most expensive option of the quartet with the Serbian having shot to superstardom in Italy’s Serie A. He has 18 goals in 22 games this season after 21 in 40 last term, and may cost in the region of £65m.

While Isak, 22, starred at Euro 2020 for Sweden and has seven goals in 21 matches this term after managing 17 league goals last year. He has an £80m release clause in his contract.

Discussing Arsenal’s plans for the January transfer window, which opened on Saturday (January 1) and closes on Monday January 31, Arteta made it clear the Gunners expect to do some deals.

“We are expecting some activity because there are some players and a few loans that hopefully we have to complete,” the Spanish coach explained.

“But it depends. It’s – as we all know – a very complicated market, and it’s a short window, so we will see what happens.”

Club legend Lee Dixon has meanwhile made it clear he’d love to see Calvert-Lewin at Arsenal, saying to the Daily Mail: “I am pretty sure Arteta has his own idea on who he should have up front, and I’m pretty sure given what has gone on it is not going to be Aubameyang.

“Would I like to see Calvert-Lewin at Arsenal? I think yes. I think you’d struggle to get one of the top, top strikers like [Erling] Haaland.

“It would be a step up for Calvert-Lewin, no disrespect to Everton. I like him, I think he’s got the potential to be as good as he wants to be. He is fit and athletic, he is strong and good in the air and a good finisher. I would take him.”

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