It is around this time of year that Premier League clubs begin to brief agents and scouts alike with their transfer wish list for the summer. Arsenal’s ought to be long and varied: there are many ways in which the current squad could be improved.
At the very top of the list will be an entry marked ‘world-class striker’. Arsenal lost their goal-scoring talisman Robin van Persie in the summer of 2012, and will be determined to replace him with a player of comparable calibre.
Arsenal have previously taken their time to replace stars. Cesc Fabregas jumped ship in the summer of 2011, but it was a full 12 months until Arsene Wenger identified Santi Cazorla as the man to take over Arsenal’s creative burden.
Now, if reports are to be believed, Wenger has trained his sights on Jovetic as the man to inherit Van Persie’s goal-scoring mantle.
Last summer Arsene Wenger brought in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, ostensibly with the intention of replacing the Dutchman. However, neither player has managed to fill the considerable void.
Podolski spent the first half of the season on the left wing, and has spent the second half almost exclusively on the bench.
Giroud has impressed in patches but is fundamentally a very different kind of player from Van Persie. He is more physical and more threatening in the air. In that respect, he is more of a direct replacement for Marouane Chamakh than Van Persie.
While Giroud excels in some areas, he doesn’t share the Dutchman’s technical versatility and ability to interchange positions with those around him. With Giroud as their spearhead, Arsenal have become a simpler, more one-dimensional attacking force.
The Premier League’s best striker this season has been Luis Suarez. He doesn’t have the physical attributes to match Giroud, but is incredibly mobile and nimble on the ball. It gives him a unique threat that defenders find impossible to manage.
If Arsenal were to snare Jovetic, he could bring a similar quality to the Emirates Stadium.
Who should Arsenal sign?
Whoscored’s statistical analysis of Jovetic identifies him as a player who dribbles frequently, provides a threat on the counter-attack, and enjoys cutting inside from the flank. The echoes of Suarez are plain to see. What’s more, he can finish: Jovetic has 12 goals from 25 starts in Serie A.
In January, Arsenal were heavily linked with Barcelona’s David Villa. Villa possesses similar qualities and would doubtless hit the ground running in the Premier League. However, he is also the wrong side of 30 with a history of injury problems.
Jovetic is still just 23. His star is very much on the rise, and this could be the perfect moment to prise him away from Fiorentina.
If Jovetic does make the move to Arsenal, he will light up the Premier League.