Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Arsenal linked with a transfer for Dusan Vlahovic. According to football.london and reports out of Italy, the Gunners held discreet talks with Vlahovic’s agents during the World Cup and could be eyeing a move for the Serbian striker after missing out on him in the last January transfer window.
I don’t buy it. For a number of reasons.
Arsenal probably don’t want a guy that snubbed them for another club. It runs completely contrary to Mikel Arteta’s “we only want guys who want to be here” stance. I doubt they want a guy who, either himself or through his agent, strung them along to get a better deal out of Juventus.
While I think the Gunners will buy an attacker in the January window, which is a change from what I thought they’d do before Gabriel Jesus’ injury, it’s not going to be a striker. It’ll be another wide forward. Jesus is Arsenal’s striker going forward, and Eddie Nketiah is his backup. They’re both under contract in North London through the 2026-27 season.
Not to downplay the immediate impact of a three-month absence because it’s absolutely a blow to the Gunners’ title challenge, it probably isn’t worth a significant deviation from the medium- to long-term squad-building plan Edu and Mikel Arteta have been following. Next up on the roadmap was a wide attacker and a central midfielder. I think the effect of Jesus’ injury is that they bring forward funds allocated for the summer and move six months early for whoever they were going to buy in the off-season.
It’s not difficult to parse out the genesis of this Dusan Vlahovic transfer rumor. The media think Arsenal need a striker with Gabriel Jesus out of action for three months. The Gunners reportedly pursued Vlahovic hard last January. Juventus have been and still are in financial trouble, saw their entire board resign on November 29th, and face ongoing investigations into their operations. In short, there is turmoil at the club, and where there is turmoil, there will be rumors linking star players away. Put those three things together and poof — plausible transfer rumor.
From a strictly footballing standpoint, I’d love to see Vlahovic at Arsenal. The attack progresses by adding players with different skillsets so that Mikel Arteta can give teams different looks and better target opponent’s weaknesses. Vlahovic is a physically bigger, target player and a finisher - something the Gunners don’t currently have. He receives progressive passes and scores. He doesn’t provide the link-up play that Gabriel Jesus does, so the attack would flow differently. There would be more onus on Martin Ødegaard and Granit Xhaka (or whoever is playing left #8) to build the play.
But that’s all academic. I would be shocked if Arsenal moved for Vlahovic. Maybe they did talk to his agent (again), or maybe his agent is playing the transfer rumor game (again). If Vlahovic moves to the Premier League, my money is on him going to Chelsea.