Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Should Work to Secure Lorenzo Insigne's Signature

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

Marco Vasini/Associated Press

Arsenal have a few areas in which they need to strengthen this summer. Nabbing an attacker like Lorenzo Insigne would be a good place to start.

If the Gunners are to pry him away from Napoli, though, it will likely take an exerted effort.

His agent, Antonio Ottaiano, revealed to TuttoMercatoWeb that the Partenopei will be loathe to watch the 23-year-old Italian leave, per the Press Association via The Guardian:

We are honoured that a club like Arsenal could have Lorenzo on their wish list. However, from here to take it to the next level, that is a possible transfer, there is a huge mountain in between named Napoli. The club consider him without a shadow of a doubt as one of their key players for their ambitious project. Hence, as of today, I don’t see that there can be any further developments unless Arsenal speak to Napoli directly and Napoli change their view on Lorenzo’s role here.

This would be far from the first time that an agent played one club against another. The higher the transfer fee, the more he ends up making himself.

Ottaiano clearly has a dog in the fight, but he's not incorrect with his assessment, either. Insigne is one of Napoli's most promising players, and with Champions League football on tap again next season, they'll want to ensure that they have as strong a squad as possible.

If the Edinson Cavani transfer proved anything, though, it's that club president Aurelio De Laurentiis will budge if the price is right. Nobody is advocating that Arsenal spend €65 million for Insigne, but €17 to 22 million is a reasonable fee and might be enough for Napoli to pull the trigger. Anything beyond €25 million is too much.

According to Corriere dello Sport, Arsenal may bid €20 million, via Bleacher Report's Italian football expert Matteo Bonetti:

By now, it's clear that the Gunners need to give Olivier Giroud a capable striker partner. Nicklas Bendtner's contract expires at the end of the month, while Yaya Sanogo is still pretty young and inexperienced with the first team.

The Frenchman improved a lot last season, but he can't do it alone next season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 04:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal after scoring during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on May 4, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Although Insigne played on the left wing a lot last season, he wouldn't have much trouble moving into the Arsenal starting lineup as a centre-forward. That's where he had been utilized primarily before Rafael Benitez came in.

Some might be concerned with the fact that Insigne has scored a combined eight goals in Serie A over the last two seasons, according to

While that number is a tad low, it's worth nothing that two years ago, he started only 16 matches and was subbed on in another 21. Strikers can have a tough time coming off the bench and making an impact. Couple that with the presence of Cavani, and you can understand why Insigne didn't register many goals.

Then last year, Benitez deployed formations in which Gonzalo Higuain operated as a lone striker, with Insigne and Callejon out on the wing.

NAPLES, ITALY - MARCH 20:  Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain of SSC Napoli look dejected after the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 match between SSC Napoli and FC Porto at Stadio San Paolo on March 20, 2014 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/G
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

The young Italian wasn't asked to be a goalscorer. Instead, his runs down the left flank helped to drag defenders away from Higuain and create scoring chances for others.

Although he'd be more central at the Emirates, Insigne's role could be much the same in relation to Giroud. Arsenal would have a strike partnership that could help propel them up the table.

With the World Cup a week away, there's almost no chance that Arsene Wenger can get a deal for Insigne done before Italy's first match against England. He'll have to wait until July, at the earliest.

Many were surprised that Cesare Prandelli opted for the Napoli attacker ahead of Giuseppe Rossi:

Italian football journalist James Horncastle made the point, though, that Rossi's fitness was likely the decider between the two.

Insigne playing in the World Cup could be a good or a bad thing in terms of finances. As a display of talent, it's largely irrelevant.

Arsenal's interest in the player should by no means hinge on how well he plays in Brazil. To have seen two full seasons of a player and then make a different judgment off the back of, at most, seven matches would be incredibly foolish.

The only issue is that if Insigne looks great for Italy, it will only drive his price higher. The biggest stars of international tournament are always overvalued in the transfer market.

From an Arsenal perspective, the best thing that could happen is that Insigne doesn't play at all or looks poor when he does play. Napoli would lose some leverage, albeit a very small amount.

It's only early June, so a lot can happen between now and the end of the window. Buying Insigne isn't the kind of move that would immediately win the Gunners a Premier League title, but he would provide a boost in the attack and fill an immediate need.