Arsenal’s forgotten star Torreira could play huge role in Arteta’s £46m swoop

Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their efforts to sign Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic by tabling a player-plus-cash offer including Lucas Torreira.

Reports in Italy suggest the Gunners have identified the 21-year-old as the ideal replacement for outcast Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is poised to leave the club this month.

According to Italian publication Gazetta dello Sport, Arsenal’s offer is understood to include a €55million (£46m) fee to be paid up front to the Serie A outfit.

Uruguayan midfielder Torreira, currently on loan at the Stadio Artemi Frianchi, would then make his move to the club permanent as part of the deal.

The Serie A side would currently have to pay £15m to sign Torreira on a permanent deal as stipulated in their loan to buy agreement. But by waiving the fee, Arsenal are effectively meeting Vlahovic’s asking price of £60m.

The north London outfit know that any sizeable offer they make will be considered after Vlahovic’s recent revelation that he would not be signing a new contract with the club.

His current deal is set to expire in 2023, giving Fiorentina only two transfer windows to negotiate a deal that will see them earn a significant profit on the £3m they paid to Partizan Belgrade in 2018.

Mikel Arteta has been keen to add a new striker to his ranks since the summer and Vlahovic has been on his radar after rising to prominence over the past 18 months.

The Serbia international scored 21 goals in Serie A last season, a tally only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo, Ciro Immobile and Romelu Lukaku.

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But the Viola star has surpassed expectations this season, scoring 16 goals in 19 appearances for Vincenzo Italiano’s side, putting him behind only Robert Lewandowski in the goalscoring charts for Europe’s top five leagues.

It is believed Vlahovic is viewed as a long-term successor to Aubameyang, with the Gabonese heading towards the Emirates Stadium exit.

The Gabonese has not featured for the club since being dropped and stripped of the captaincy by Arteta in December, and with interest from Newcastle United, Arteta may be ready to move on from the £250,000-a-week striker.

The Spaniard also looks set to lose Alexandre Lacazette, who is out of contract in June and can now speak to foreign clubs about a pre-contract agreement.

Unsurprisingly, there is interest elsewhere for Vlahovic and Juventus have apparently earmarked the highly-rated striker as their new leading frontman if Alvaro Morata leaves for Barcelona.

Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Tottenham have also been linked with a move for the striker in January, but their interest may hinge on other movements in the window surrounding the future of Erling Haaland.

But Arsenal may hold the advantage in negotiations as they attempt to wrap up a deal with an enticing offer to Fiorentina.

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