Arsenal transfer chief Edu has a recent mistake to keep in mind if the north London side continue to push for the signing of Dusan Vlahovic this January. The Gunners are yet to announce their first major arrival since the start of the transfer window, despite seeing several departures.
Folarin Balogun, Pablo Mari and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have all sealed loan exits since the New Year, while Sead Kolasinac left permanently for Marseille.
When it comes to new arrivals, Arsenal’s transfer activity hints at a midfielder and a striker representing key areas of focus.
A six-month loan for Juventus’ Arthur Melo seemed to be the most likely option in midfield, although manager Massimiliano Allegri has strongly suggested that the Brazilian is going nowhere.
That may leave the Gunners searching for Plan B, but their Plan A up top is has been, and continues to be Fiorentina’s Vlahovic.
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And Edu will not have to cast his mind too far back to remember the signing of Nicolas Pepe which, so far, has failed to live up to expectations or the financial outlay.
Arsenal forked out a club record £72m to sign the Ivorian from Lille back in 2019, in a deal which included £9m in agent fees.
A measly return of 15 Premier League goals in 69 games is hardly what Gunners fans expected, particularly after the flying winger bagged 22 Ligue 1 goals for Lille in just his final season.
So far this campaign, Pepe has appeared nine times in the league without scoring.
Although Pepe is only into his third season and still has the chance to turn his Arsenal career around, the overall experience should make the Gunners boardroom wary when it comes to such a pricey deal for Vlahovic.
After all, the north London side pulled the trigger on Pepe after just two good seasons in a top European league.
At present, although all signs are positive, Vlahovic is in the midst of just his second prolific topflight campaign.
If nothing else, a reflection on Pepe’s first two-and-a-half years at the Emirates should urge Edu to proceed with caution before blowing Fiorentina and the Serbian out of the water with a mammoth bid, wage packet and commitment to yet more astronomical agent fees.