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Transfer Rumor: Arsenal linked with Serie A attacker

Would the Swedish international be a smart addition for the Gunners?

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/Getty Images

With the January transfer window inching closer the rumor mill is heating up. One of the latest links to Arsenal is the 21-year-old Juventus attacker Dejan Kulusevski. Able to play multiple roles within the attack, he has found it hard to secure a prominent role in the starting XI in Turin. So let’s break down who the player is, where he might fit into Arsenal’s setup, and if there is a case for pursuing the transfer.

Player: Dejan Kulusevski, 21

Current Club: Juventus (Serie A). He developed in the Atalanta academy before making his breakthrough during the 2019-20 season while on loan at Parma. Juventus bought Kulusevski for $38.5 million during the winter transfer window, sending him back to Parma to finish the season where he ended with ten goals and nine assists from 36 matches, plus the Serie A Best Young Player award. That earned him a spot on Juventus’ roster for ‘20-21 season as well as this year but has been limited to just one full 90 during the current campaign.

International: 18 caps and one goal for Sweden having been a part of the national team at each level since the U15s. He has only managed one senior-level goal for Sweden but remains a part of their World Cup qualification squad.

Position(s): He’s has been quite versatile in this career, as demonstrated by the positions he’s played this season for Juventus - center forward, shadow striker, right wing, attacking midfield, right midfield, and left midfield.

Potential Price: $35-45 million. Juventus will want to at a minimum recoup their investment, with the price likely ending up in the $40m+ range.

Arsenal Positional Depth:

  • Center Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah & Folarin Balogun
  • Attacking Midfield: Emile Smith Rowe & Martin Odegaard
  • Right Wing: Bukayo Saka & Pepe (potentially Reiss Nelson if he returns to the senior team next season)

Arsenal Need: Complicated. Lacazette and possibly Nketiah are gone in the next two transfer windows, and Aubameyang’s time left at Arsenal is limited. Thus the club needs a proven senior center forward to go along with Martinelli and Balogun, but while Kulusevski has great upside, it’s probably a bit too risky to make him the focal point up top.

At the #10 role, Arsenal have both Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard, plus can use Bukayo Saka there if needed, so there is zero reason to add Kulusevski there. And on the right, once again the club has Saka and Pepe, so unless someone is buying Pepe from Arsenal (and with Reiss Nelson available next season) it’s hard to argue that position is a pressing need.

Final Verdict: Whether it’s January or next summer, Arsenal once again have plenty of work to do. Decisions and deals are needed on Lacazette, Nketiah, Leno, and multiple on loan players (Guendouzi, Torreira, Saliba, & Mavropanos). The club needs to identify an experienced center forward and spending somewhere north of $40m for Kulusevski doesn’t solve that problem. Perhaps if the club were to also see Aubameyang exit this summer, then the left-footed winger might be a valuable addition to split time with Martinelli on the left. A name to keep on the list for the future, but not worth chasing this winter window.