Here are the three attackers who could cost Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger a pretty penny this summer:
Alvaro Morata, Real Madrid
The link that just won't die sees Arsenal once again showing their interest in 21-year-old Real Madrid frontman Alvaro Morata. Wenger has kept a close on the youthful Spanish star for some time.
His level of interest has apparently convinced Real Madrid to drive up the price. Los Blancos are quoting the Gunners a fee of £24 million to pry Morata from the Spanish capital, per Spanish publication AS (h/t London Evening Standard)
That is certainly a steep asking price, even though Morata is a legitimate rising talent. Possessing both alarming pace and strong aerial prowess, Morata has the makings of a truly feared attacker.
Wenger would welcome the chance to unleash that potential. Morata's versatility will appeal to the Arsenal chief.
Wenger could deploy Morata through the middle, either alongside or even instead of current starter Olivier Giroud.
But Morata's quickness and trickery also make him useful in wide areas. He could provide Giroud with more dynamic and direct support than he often receives from the inconsistent Lukas Podolski.
Of course, that's all fine in theory. But it's difficult to imagine Wenger making such a significant financial outlay for a player relatively unproven, no matter how much he believes in his potential.
Wilfried Bony, Swansea City
Wilfried Bony is ready to leave Swansea City after just one season. His agent, Dalibor Lacina, confirmed the striker's desire to join a "top-six club," per Ross Gregory of the Shields Gazette.
Lacina has put Bony's current value at £20 million, making him a costly potential acquisition. Arsenal have already been linked with the prolific 25-year-old since the season ended, per Daily Star reporter Gary Jones.
However, Swansea manager Gary Monk has dismissed the speculation, according to WalesOnline.co.uk (h/t Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express).
Count this author among those who was a little dubious about Bony's ability to make an immediate impact in the Premier League. Yet it didn't take the Ivory Coast powerhouse any time at all to show he is a top-level striker.
Bony netted 16 Premier League goals, per WhoScored.com, as part of a spectacular, free-scoring debut season in England. Importantly from an Arsenal perspective, Bony showed that he is suited to a quick and intricate passing game.
Swansea keep the ball on the ground and recycle possession intelligently. Bony has the pace to latch on to through passes, along with the physicality to be a menace in the air.
Like Giroud, the ability to link well with others is also a key part of his game. Matching Bony's high asking price might be a gamble worth taking for Wenger.
He would be getting a Premier League-proven goalscorer, capable of quickly assimilating to Arsenal's fluid and expansive style.
Mario Balotelli, AC Milan
Speaking of gambles, if Wenger really wants to roll the dice, he'll push through a mooted move for Mario Balotelli from AC Milan. The player, who could politely be described as an erratic maverick, is said to be a £20 million target for Arsenal, per Daily Mail reporter Rob Shepherd.
It's now being reported that Wenger might not have to foot the whole cost of any deal. Charles Perrin of the Daily Express believes club kit sponsor Puma are ready to help fund the transfer:
The Gunners put pen to paper on a £30m-a-year deal with the German sportswear company in January and it's not the first time the Puma plan to bring Balotelli to Arsenal has surfaced.
And reports in Italy suggest Arsenal will be backed by Puma in order to pull off a coup.
It is thought Arsenal retain a strong interest in Balotelli and that Puma believe having Balotelli back in the Premier League would be a boon for supporters.
Balotelli is a client of the sportswear manufacturer and certainly has the attributes Arsenal need to boost their attack. He offers tremendous pace and natural strength.
The 23-year-old is also a confident and decisive finisher, not something anyone is likely to accuse Giroud of being any time soon. However, the risks to signing Balotelli are well-known.
His fiery temperament and penchant for courting trouble could unravel what has been a encouragingly unified squad in recent seasons.
Arsenal's need for a quality striker has not gone away. That's reflected in the players they are most frequently linked with so far during this transfer window.
But whichever forward Wenger ultimately buys this summer, it's clear he can't avoid spending significant sums to solve the problem.
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