Arsenal refresh striker transfer shortlist as background Darwin Nunez talks held


Arsenal are beginning to refresh their striker transfer shortlist ahead of the summer when Mikel Arteta and Edu plan to spend big on a new marquee No 9. The vision was part of the board’s thinking when deciding to free former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from his contract in north London on deadline day, so he could seal his dream move to Barcelona.

The 32-year-old frontman was comfortably Arsenal’s highest-earner on £250,000 per week and the Gunners have since saved significant funds on his salary since their decisive cost-cutting exercise.

Now that money – plus potential revenue from a top-four finish – will go towards Arsenal’s big-money replacement for Aubameyang.

The club made a lucrative play for Dusan Vlahovic in January but the player and his representatives had no interest in a move to the Emirates Stadium.

Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, Jonathan David of Lille and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin were the other names of interest.

However, while that remains true, Express Sport understands Arsenal are now also monitoring other targets including Benfica’s Darwin Nunez, Victor Osimhen of Napoli and Southampton loanee Armando Broja.

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Background talks with the agent of Uruguayan frontman Nunez, have already taken place.

Arsenal won’t be alone should they wish to move for the 22-year-old, who has 20 goals in 22 Primeira Liga outings this season, though.

That’s because West Ham and Newcastle are already plotting a summer swoop with Benfica braced for yet another bumper payday.

Nunez fits the profile discussed by Arsenal’s recruitment team with Arteta and Edu keen to continue signing players under the age of 24.

At 23, Osimhen fits that bracket but Napoli’s price tag – which is likely to exceed £80million – could rule the Nigerian out of the running.

Despite suffering a fractured cheekbone and eye socket, there is widespread belief around Europe that Osimhen has all the making of a top-class No 9.

Chelsea’s uncertain future could prevent potential suitors from signing Broja though as the Blues wait to discover whether they can sign players this summer under new ownership.

Arteta wants a dynamic centre-forward capable of playing with his back to goal but also capable of getting in behind defences at the tip of his 4-3-3 system.

Isak fits the bill but his £75m release clause is considered to be steep.

Meanwhile, Calvert-Lewin’s difficult, injury-ravaged campaign has seen his stock plummet – particularly when considering Everton’s valuation (£70m+) of the player.

However, should the Toffees fail to beat the drop, Arsenal could look to secure a move at a cut-price – although they’re unlikely to be alone at the table.

Lille’s Canadian international frontman David remains a genuine option after his reps met with Arsenal in December.

He will definitely leave the reigning French champions this summer but he wants to join a club that can offer Champions League football.


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