Eddie Nketiah saga could inadvertently lead Arsenal to perfect Dusan Vlahovic alternative

Arsenal have made signing a striker a priority with Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette out of contract at the end of the season. Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic is the top target but that is no easy task.

While Mikel Arteta might think that his current strike force situation is starting to snowball out of control, there could be a silver lining.

The forwards at Arsenal all look set to leave at the end of the season at the latest with Nketiah, Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang eyeing the exit door.

The latter has only recently returned from international duty after medics found a heart problem while with Gabon at the African Cup of Nations.

However, the 32-year-old’s time at the Emirates looks up after being ostracised from the first-team by Arteta following a breach of discipline.

And the other options - Nketiah and Lacazette - are both out of contract in the summer and there are currently no plans to renew.

Arsenal are desperate to bring in Fiorentina ace Vlahovic after a sensational campaign where he has scored 17 Serie A goals in 21 appearances.

The Gunners are not the only ones in for the Serbian, though, with Juventus reported to be ahead in the queue for the striker.

But interest in Nketiah could help Arteta with Aston Villa interested in the striker, according to The Athletic.

While Steven Gerrard would be reluctant to see any of his squad, Arsenal could turn to Ollie Watkins as a potential replacement.

The former Brentford star could be a cheaper alternative to Vlahovic, should the Gunners fail in their chase for the 21-year-old.

Watkins possesses many similar attributes to the Fiorentina frontman, including searing pace, intelligent movement and a clinical strike in front of goal.

The Englishman might not be the glitzy signing that Arsenal fans want but in a side that is brimming with creativity, he could be the ideal striker to put away the chances made by the likes of Emile Smith, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka.

The sentiment is shared by Arsenal legend Paul Merson, who said on Sky Sports: “If I was Arsenal now, I would go and steam in to try and get Watkins.”

While Watkins has had a tougher time this season in front of goal, netting five in the Premier League, Villa are only just getting back on track under Gerrard after a tetchy start which led to Dean Smith’s sacking.

The 26-year-old’s first season in the Premier League was more than fruitful after scoring 14, as well as grabbing five assists.

As well as Vlahovic, the Gunners have been linked with other strikers including Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Real Sociedad ace Alexander Isak.

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