Another transfer window, another striker linked with Arsenal, it seems. So often it has been the case over the last few years that some of the finest talents in Europe have been linked with a move to the Emirates. And 2017 is no different.
Torino striker Andrea Belotti is the latest name to be linked with the Gunners, but this morning’s reports are suggesting that the Serie A outfit are demanding £50m for his services.
So are they right to ask for that much? And is it an amount Arsene Wenger should part with?
Ladbrokes News takes a look at the pros and cons of this potential move…
He’s certainly on the up
The 23-year-old is slowly proving himself to be one of Europe’s deadliest strikers. But that wasn’t the case two seasons ago. In fact, in the 2014-15 campaign – his first in the Italian top-flight – he managed just six goals from 38 appearances.
But last time out, he managed 12 from 35, and he’s already bettered that tally this season, with 13 goals already to his name from 16 appearances.
Though 31 goals in two-and-a-half seasons are impressive numbers from the youngster, it’s a figure which is trumped by two of Arsenal’s current strikers, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud.
Those two have managed 36 and 42 league goals respectively over the same period of time, in what many would consider to be a much tougher league.
He’s a rare breed
You’ve got to be pretty special to break into the senior Italy team at 23. It’s a well known fact that Gli Azzurri tend to opt for older, more experienced players, but Belotti is just one name breaking that mould right now.
Already with five senior international caps to his name, the former Palermo man has bagged a trio of goals in Italy’s 2018 World Cup Qualification campaign. And it’s likely he’ll play a vital role next year in Russia for his country.
With no young striker coming through the ranks at Arsenal right now, he could well be the man to lead their line for years to come.
This goes some way to explaining why Torino are demanding such a high fee. Couple his status as an Italy regular with the fact that the Turin club are heavily reliant on him, and Arsenal are left with a real dilemma.
They’d have to smash their record transfer fee were they to capture Belotti. And given that he’s yet to prove himself as a world class player, it seems unlikely that Wenger would fork out the requested amount.
Make no mistake about it, Belotti has the potential to be one of the best strikers in world football. His stats show that he’s improving year on year, he’s attracting interest from some of Europe’s elite clubs, and he’s still some way off peaking.
In truth, it’s quite frightening to think how good he could be in years to come.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
Though Torino will drive a hard bargain, any figure around the £35-40m mark would do wonders for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side.
We already know that they’re not in a position to compete with their Serie A rivals financially, as they’ve said they wouldn’t be able to afford to keep Manchester City loanee Joe Hart at the club after this season.
And as Belotti continues to improve, he’ll request wages which Torino may not be able to offer, and thus he’ll likely seek pastures new.
It may not be the ‘Arsenal way’ to go out and spend huge figures on unproven talents, but there’s no doubting they’re starting to adapt their approach. The £35m spent on 24-year-old Granit Xhaka back in the summer emphasises that point tenfold.
With transfermarkt.co.uk valuing the striker at £17m and Torino at £50m, there’s every chance a price somewhere in the middle of those two could be enough to get a deal over the line.
So what do fans think? Would it be money well spent by Wenger, or is there another player he should be looking to bring in?
Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing