Erling Haaland may have major say in Arsenal’s ambitious Dusan Vlahovic pursuit

Erling Haaland has a £68m release clause in his contract which becomes active this summer
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The Serbian is a top target of Arsenal and seen as the man who could lead Mikel Arteta’s line for many seasons to come, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of favour and Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah out of contract at the end of the season.

The Gunners are willing to meet Fiorentina’s asking price of £62m, according to The Independent, but the club are ambitiously offering a structured deal rather than paying the Serie A outfit in full this month.

The report goes on to state that there is a belief amongst the Vlahovic camp that when Haaland signs for a club, wider interest will turn to the striker and thus he will have more options.

If Real Madrid do secure Haaland, where he will presumably link up with Kylian Mbappe who is set to leave PSG, then it would be no surprise to see Pep Guardiola call for City to turn their attention to Vlahovic and end their quest to find a centre forward.

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Therefore, Arsenal may be reluctant to postpone their pursuit until the summer and rather continue pushing for Fiorentina to part ways with their young star in the coming weeks.

Gunners hero Paul Merson believes that if Arteta was able to secure Vlahovic then his side would become title contenders.

Writing for the Daily Star, Merson said: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is finished at Arsenal. He won't be coming back from the Africa Cup of Nations.

“They should be breaking the bank to get Dusan Vlahovic in from Fiorentina in the summer – because he would make them title contenders.

Arsenal are pushing to sign 21-year-old hotshot Dusan Vlahovic of Fiorentina

“I've heard he's not interested in Arsenal right now and I can understand that. But he might change his mind if they finish in the top four and offer him a lorryload of money.

“Arsenal would be able to play him every week because Aubameyang will be gone. Alexandre Lacazette will probably be gone. And so will Eddie Nketiah.

“They will need a goalscorer and Vlahovic scores goals. He's also still young so he should get better and you're not wasting money paying a 29-year-old on the way down.

Aubameyang was frozen out of the Arsenal team and stripped of the captaincy of the club last month after a ‘disciplinary breach’ and it believed that he could push for a move away from the Emirates Stadium this month.