Vlahovic chooses Juventus over Arsenal in €70m deal

Serbian wants Champions League football, as Gunners turn their attention to 27-year-old Espanyol striker
Vlahovic chooses Juventus over Arsenal in €70m deal

WANTED MAN: Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic

Arsenal's pursuit of Fiorentina's coveted striker Dusan Vlahovic has hit the buffers after Juventus reached an agreement with la Viola to sign the much-coveted striker for around €75m.

The Turin club are finalising terms with Fiorentina with the player's agent saying they are not considering offers from Arsenal or their north London rivals Tottenham. Fiorentina want to cash in on Vlahovic this month with Juve's hierarchy willing to allocate more funds to their January budget to sign the talented 21-year-old.

A report in Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport claims Juventus have agreed a five-year deal. Fiorentina's sporting director, Daniele Prade, told Sportitalia: "It's an important valuation, over €70m as a lump sum with no swap deals and no payment structures. The president [Rocco Commisso] has imposed it on us. All of our doors are open in this situation, because we need to understand what the players and his agents really want to do.

"We received some important offers for him. Offers that were very substantial but we never got any feedback from his agents. On our side, there has always been great transparency. I refer to what Joe Barone [Fiorentina's chief executive] said, all our doors are open.

"We're ready to sit down at a table and talk. We made various important offers for a contract extension, and we also have had a few offers to sell him in a strong way.

"I'm saying this because our club makes €75m a year and we can't afford to lose a valuable asset for free.

"They were all valid and satisfactory offers, with payment methods that suited us. We couldn't go ahead with the deal because there was never any contact with the player's agents."

Vlahovic has 17 goals in 21 Serie A appearances this season, making him the league’s joint top scorer with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile. The Juventus striker Álvaro Morata, on loan from Atlético Madrid, hopes Vlahovic’s arrival will enable him to join Barcelona but that would hinge on permission from his parent club and whether Barcelona have the financial capacity to register him.

Fiorentina want to sign the Brazilian striker Arthur Cabral from Basel to replace Vlahovic and have submitted an opening bid of €14m plus €2m in add-ons. The Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat is Tottenham’s main target if they conclude a deal to send Tanguy Ndombele on loan to Paris Saint-Germain. Amrabat is with Morocco at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Arsenal have reportedly identified Espanyol’s Raul De Tomas as an alternative for Vlahovic. The former Real Madrid striker is rated at €35m by the Catalonian club with 23 La Liga goals in their promotion campaign in 2020/21. De Tomas is contracted to Espanyol until 2026, with a release clause of €70m, but they could be tempted into a sale if the Spain international wants to avoid a relegation scrap.

Additional reporting: Guardian

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