Arsenal could find their striker shortlist cut down this week after news emerged that Juventus' Mirko Vucinic is closing in on a move to Inter Milan.
Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia) claims the Montenegrin international has accepted a pay cut to play for Inter as part of a straight swap deal that sees Fredy Guarin moving in the opposite direction.
CNN's Tancredi Palmeri reveals a deal has been struck:
Finally: Inter and Juventus reached an agreement: Guarin for Vucinic+1.5m€. But Inter wants Guarin to speak publicly on his will to move— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) January 21, 2014
Despite the list of sources linking the Gunners with a Vucinic transfer, Arsene Wenger was quoted by James Gheerbrant of The Independent as saying he was never particularly interested in the Serie A striker: "We are looking at potential possibilities to get someone in but we are not especially interested in Vucinic. I would love to announce to you something that would excite you but I don’t have the opportunity to do so."
Arsenal's reliance on Olivier Giroud this season has led to the belief that Wenger is in dire need of attacking reinforcements, although the Frenchman is yet to add to his squad this month.
Vucinic is one of many potential short-term options for Wenger, but now that door is nearly shut.
Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo are expected to return from injury in the coming weeks, giving Arsenal a couple of much-needed options up front.
The North Londoners have had to rely largely upon their midfield ranks for attacking impetus this season, with Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere all lending a hand in that regard.
A move for Vucinic always looked unlikely, as Arsenal are thought to be seeking only a loan move this winter, while Juve favoured a permanent sale.
Another stumbling block for the financially conscious Gunners is that Juve value their 30-year-old at a substantial sum of £10 million, according to Gheerbrant's report.
The figure seems an odd one when considering that Carlos Tevez, the man who has replaced Vucinic in Antonio Conte's line-up, was signed for just under £8 million. What's more, one would think that the veteran's price would be lowered considering he now has less than 18 months remaining on his contract.
Vucinic has started just four Serie A games this season, scoring two goals in the process, per Transfermarkt. The attacker would fit in with Wenger's tactics given that he's used to sitting as a central striker for the Old Lady.
However, Vucinic's age is another reason a permanent deal for his services never looked probable, Wenger preferring to do business for younger assets with a higher potential for sell-on value.
That being said, beIN Sport's Matteo Bonetti thinks Vucinic could make Inter a very threatening outfit:
Mazzarri needs to start using Kovacic. Put him behind Vucinic and Palacio and suddenly Inter would look a lot more threatening.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) January 20, 2014
All things considered, the English giants may have dodged a bullet by seeing Inter swoop in so early, which means Arsenal aren't as likely to waste quite so much time answering questions on Vucinic's future.
That being said, Wenger still has a long final week of the January transfer window ahead, and his efforts to bring in a new forward could have a massive impact on the remainder of the campaign.