LONDON: Arsene Wenger has revived his hunt for a new striker after the conclusion of Euro 2016, having been rebuffed by Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy who was top of Arsenal’s priority list.
Vardy decided, during the European Championship, to extend his contract with the Premier League champions, leaving Arsenal to cast their eyes far and wide in search of greater power up front either to partner or to replace French spearhead Olivier Giroud.
Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has emerged as Arsenal’s latest top target after sources close to the player said he was keen to test himself in English football. The Italian club have indicated a valuation of more than €90m which Arsenal could meet with a cash and player exchange deal involving Giroud.
Higuain, then with Real Madrid, agreed personal terms for a transfer to Arsenal in 2013 but joined Napoli after the Gunners failed to make an offer which met the Spanish club’s demands. Last season the Argentinian vindicated Napoli’s outlay by scoring 36 goals as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus.
Mickael Manuello, Giroud’s agent, confirmed that Giroud would have no objections to the move. Manuello said: “At the moment, Giroud is an Arsenal player. If he was asked to leave, then we would evaluate our options. There is no fear in Olivier going to Napoli, it is a magnificent city.
“In Campania, my client would lead a wonderful life, not to mention that the type of game orchestrated by Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri could enhance the quality of a centre-forward like him.”
Wolfsburg’s Julian Draxler has also been linked with Arsenal though the Gunners would appear to have an over-abundance of creative players and a high-scoring striker has been needed ever since Robin Van Persie’s departure to Manchester United in 2012.
Lukas Podolski never quite filled the bill, Theo Walcott has yet to convince as a centre-forward while Danny Webeck has proved injury-prone.
Failing Higuain the next fall-back targets for Arsenal could include Alvaro Morata, who is back with Real Madrid at least temporarily after leaving Juventus, and Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette.