As the end of the January transfer window draws nearer, so do the rumors surrounding Arsenal’s plans to add a striker mid-season.
Injuries to Theo Walcott, Niklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo and the fear of over-relying on Frenchman Olivier Giroud have led many to believe the Gunners need reinforcements up top.
Among the many names that have been floated—Mario Mandzukic, Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and Eduardo to name a few—there is one player who fits the description of what Arsenal need: Mirko Vucinic.
And unlike those other names, he appears to be available.
According to BeIN Sport correspondent Tancredi Palmeri, reports of the Juventus man joining Inter on a straight-up swap deal for Fredy Guarin were premature:
THE SOAP OPERA! UPDATE: Inter's president Thohir has stopped again the Vucinic-Guarin deal. Guarin lobbying on Moratti to persuade Thohir— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) January 21, 2014
Playing behind Manchester City castoff Carlos Tevez, the Montenegrin striker has had his name shopped around by the Italian club. He and the Gunners have been linked since the beginning of the transfer window:
Mirror: Arsenal told Mirko Vucinic transfer from Juventus has to be on a permanent deal not a loan. -A— Transfer Central TNC (@TransferNewsCen) January 2, 2014
And with the Inter deal falling through, the 30-year-old striker is there for Arsene Wenger’s taking once again and the rumors are heating up:
Arsenal's hope of signing Vucinic have been boosted as Vucinic-Guarin deal has been cancelled by Erik Thohir according to reports in Italy.— Transfer 24 hours (@Transfer24hours) January 21, 2014
Despite his age, Vucinic should have plenty of gas in the tank. After six seasons as a first-choice striker, he has managed just seven starts for the Bianconeri since Tevez joined in the summer.
His ability to receive the ball in midfield with his back to goal and shake defenders up the field echoes players like Lionel Messi; though his work looks more circus than wizardry:
Vucinic is both creator and finisher. He has notched 26 goals and 15 assists in three seasons at Juventus, including a blistering stoppage time goal that sent Juventus past AC Milan and into the 2012 Coppa Italia final.
Arsenal cling dearly to one and two point leads over Manchester City and Chelsea, respectively, in the Premier League. They face Bayern Munich to kick off the elimination stages. And their FA Cup run remains in tact.
The Gunners have a lot of football left to play and a lot of goals to score if they want to bring multiple trophies to the Emirates.
Unfortunately, the two clubs don’t seem to see eye to eye on terms. Wenger wants Vucinic on loan while Juventus would like to remove his contract from their books permanently.
Oddly, his price has gone up since the beginning of the transfer window. Juventus originally gave him an £8 million price tag:
Arsenal have been told they will have to pay close to £8m for Mirko Vucinic. (Daily Mirror)— Transfer Centre (@CentreTransfer) January 2, 2014
Now they are asking for more:
According to la Gazzetta dello Sport, Arsenal want Vucinic but Juventus ask for €12M for a permanent deal (@GugliCannavale)— Transfer Central TNC (@TransferNewsCen) January 18, 2014
That equates to nearly £10 million, while Wenger is looking for a five-month rental at a fraction of the cost:
Arsenal are keen on Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic but only want to spend £1.5m to loan him for the rest of the season.[Mirror]— Transfer Sources (@TransferSources) January 19, 2014
Due to Wenger’s shrewd nature, Juventus will likely have to soften their stance in a last-ditch effort to send Vucinic packing, but Wenger would do well to add the crafty veteran.