By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Arsenal are in advanced talks with Fiorentina to sign Stevan Jovetic and are also eyeing up a second marquee striker signing this summer, Goal.com can reveal.
Manager Arsene Wenger is targeting some of Europe's stellar forwards, with Robert Lewandowski and Edin Dzeko among those on his shortlist.
JOVETIC SET FOR ARSENAL?
SERGIO CHESI, GOAL.COM ITALY
"There's been a lot of debate in recent times about Jovetic and his future. Many people in Italy expected a great campaign from him, but he's struggled to hit top form on a regular basis and scored 'just' 12 goals, which is surprising given Fiorentina have hit the net 65 times in Serie A this season.
"Coach Vincenzo Montella has used Jovetic as a central striker, relying on his goalscoring ability, but the results just haven't been good enough. Injuries and a lack of composure have impacted on his profligacy but with Juventus' interest in the 23-year-old having cooled, it appears he could be heading for the Premier League with his days at Fiorentina seemingly numbered."
Fiorentina’s public stance is that they value Jovetic between £25-£30m but Arsenal are confident of agreeing a fee for less than £20m.
The Gunners are likely to start the bidding at around the £17m mark soon after the Premier League transfer window opens on May 20.
It is understood that the north Londoners are also eyeing up a second big-name centre-forward signing this summer as Wenger harbours doubts over the ability of wide forwards Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott to lead the front line.
Arsenal are in contact with the representatives of Borussia Dortmund’s in-demand spearhead Lewandowski and are also keeping close tabs on Manchester City striker Dzeko.
As reported by Goal.com last month, Bayern Munich remain in pole position to capture Lewandowski, either this summer or in 12 months’ time when his Dortmund contract expires, ahead of a number of English suitors, including Manchester United and City.
The Gunners have been linked with QPR’s Loic Remy, who has a relegation clause in his contract and will leave Loftus Road this summer, but it is understood that Arsenal are not interested in the Frenchman and have higher profile targets lined up.
Goal.com revealed last month that Arsenal know their hopes of landing Jovetic are dependent upon them securing a top-four Premier League place, an increasingly likely possibility given the club’s strong finish to the season.
Early talks with the 23-year-old’s camp had revealed that the Montenegro international is keen on moving to Emirates Stadium but one of his prime concerns is to play in next season's Champions League.
The Gunners do not believe they will be able to sign the forward without the carrot of Europe's biggest stage, something that City, another of the clubs pursuing the player, will almost certainly be able to offer.
Arsenal’s early push for Jovetic and plans to move for another forward is indicative of Wenger’s desire to spend big in this summer’s transfer market, with a new goalkeeper, centre-back, midfield anchorman and right-back to replace the outgoing Bacary Sagna also on his wanted list. As revealed by Goal.com, Sochaux’s Sebastien Corchia has been lined up as a £4.3m replacement for Sagna.
FA Cup finalists City negotiated first option on Jovetic when they bought his former team-mate Matija Nastasic on deadline day last August for £12 million.
But the Montenegrin is likely to be a fall-back option only if City fail to secure the signing of one of their A-list striker targets, headed by Napoli's Edinson Cavani.
City pursued Jovetic as part of a double swoop last summer but Fiorentina held on to the 23-year-old fans’ favourite amid fears of a huge backlash from supporters if they sold him.
It is understood that Jovetic agreed to remain in Florence for another season on the proviso that he can leave in the forthcoming window.