Arsenal are ready to deliver the first blow to Antonio Conte’s Tottenham reign by paying €80 million in January to sign the Italian’s top transfer target.
Conte was appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo’s replacement earlier this week and has immediately transformed the mood at the struggling north London club, with the first team squad said to be ‘buzzing’ after he observed training on Wednesday.
The former Chelsea manager oversaw last night’s chaotic 3-2 Europa Conference League victory over Vitesse Arnhem and was immediately made aware of the need to strengthen his team in the transfer window.
According to reports earlier this week, the 52-year-old wants to bring in at least two new central defenders, and he also wants to add Franck Kessie to a midfield that has lacked steel and energy this season.
Conte said of possible ambitions ahead of Sunday’s Premier League encounter against Everton: ‘Now to say that we have a precise target is not straightforward.’ The club, I believe, is the same. Paratici is well aware of the situation.
‘I don’t think it’s good or fair to say we want to do or achieve something right now.’ ‘Right now, all we have to do is be strong, start working together, and recognize that we need to improve.’
While Conte will still have access to two of the Premier League’s most prolific strikers in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, he is desperate to add another striker to his squad to relieve the pressure on his team’s two real world-class players.
Conte is reportedly interested in Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic, but Spurs have been put off by his €80 million price tag.
According to Sky Italy, however, that valuation has far from deterred Arsenal who are said to have already met with their Italian counterparts and are keen to strike a deal imminently.
Mikel Arteta’s side still boasts the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, but both are into their thirties and the latter has less than six months left on his current contract.
Fiorentina, for their part, are already preparing for Vlahovic’s departure and are targeting a move for Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi.