The Gunners have improved this season and currently hold a top-four spot, but can they do better?
Signing Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic could make Arsenal a Premier League title contender for next season, according to Paul Merson.
The 21-year-old Serbian has 18 months left on his contract, meaning he’ll be able to leave Fiorentina as a free agent in 2023 if he leaves the Italian club.
Vlahovic doesn’t have any shortage of suitors either following his goal-laden exploits in Italy. Arsenal are one of several clubs across Europe interested. However, it’s understood the striker isn’t sold on the idea of joining a Premier League side that is not in the Champions League.
‘A proper center-forward could be the missing piece’
But Merson thinks that Vlahovic’s stance could change in the blink of an eye if Mikel Arteta’s side seal a top-four Premier League finish and offer a ‘lorryload of money’.
“They should be breaking the bank to get Dusan Vlahovic in from Fiorentina in the summer – because he would make them title contenders,” former Arsenal midfielder Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
“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.”
Signing a new striker will be a priority for the Gunners in the summer. The exiled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future currently hangs in the balance, while Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah will be out of contract.
“Arsenal would be able to play him every week because [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang will be gone. Alexandre Lacazette will probably be gone. And so will Eddie Nketiah,” Merson continued.
“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.”
He added: “I’m not saying they’ll win the league if they get Vlahovic. But they’ll have a chance to make it a four-horse race at least.”
Arsenal, who last won the Premier League in the 2003/04 season, return to action on Sunday away to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.