Signing a striker is one of Arsenal's main priorities as the club enters the final days of summer transfer business. Danny Welbeck, Edinson Cavani and Alessio Cerci are all rumoured to be on the team's radar.
Arsene Wenger has had his hand forced by the ankle injury that looks set to keep Olivier Giroud out of action until 2015, and Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail writes that Manchester United's Welbeck may be interested in a switch.
The England international has retained his fringe-option status under new Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal, but Mokbel claims the Gunners' refusal to sell Thomas Vermaelen to United earlier this summer could see the move blocked.
The Telegraph's Mark Ogden insists Welbeck's desire to play as a centre-forward is strong, but with Robin van Persie occupying that spot at Old Trafford, his chances would currently seem limited:
Welbeck wants to play as a centre-forward, so he needs to do better here to prove he deserves that chance on a regular basis.— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) August 26, 2014
Selling to a direct rival wouldn't necessarily be considered a pragmatic decision on United's behalf, either, especially so close to the transfer window deadline when a replacement may be needed.
An altogether more costly option for Arsenal would be that of Cavani, but Goal.com's Robin Bairner says Paris Saint-Germain would require a replacement of their own if they're to be tempted into a sale:
The figure being mooted for the Uruguayan is a magnificent £50 million, according to the Daily Express' Anthony Chapman, considerably more than the club-record £42.5 million paid for Mesut Ozil in 2013.
Given that Giroud would be back before the end of the season, it would be difficult to envision the Gunners forking out such a hefty sum, even if their need for a reliable presence up front is said to be dire.
A move to North London would assuredly give Cavani the chance he desires in his favoured central attacking role. However, PSG boss Laurent Blanc was quoted by Sky Sports earlier in August as proclaiming his forward is content in the French capital:
Our talk will remain between Edinson and I. Don’t try to know what we talked about. He told you [the media] again he feels happy at Paris and it was not all linked with his position on the pitch and that is an answer I like because in football you have to think collectively.
But it was no surprise from Edinson. Indeed he has a favourite position, but as does any other player. I am only focused on the team being efficient, notably with Edinson and that is clearly possible as we showed last season. He is a player with so many qualities that he can not only play centre-forward. He showed it during last WC again.
If ever there were a time where Arsenal might be expected to splash in such massive amounts, it would be in the midst of an injury crisis, but even Giroud's absence may not force such a huge outlay.
Significantly smaller in cost would be Alessio Cerci of Torino, and beIN Sports' Italian writer Tancredi Palmeri quotes club president Urbano Cairo saying a sale outside Serie A looks more likely than a domestic switch:
Torino president: "For Cerci the real buyers are abroad. I can't wait Milan forever"— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 26, 2014
With a suggested market value of £15 million, the Azzurri attacker is within limits for Arsenal and could be the most versatile option given his tendencies to operate from the wing last season.
Helping fire Torino to seventh in the Italian top flight, Cerci's 2013-14 campaign produced 13 goals and 10 assists in 37 league outings, per Squawka, but Southampton are reportedly eager to rival for his signature.
Wenger may decide to make good on transfer speculation, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Frenchman instead trust the assets already at his disposal as he has in seasons gone by.
Some at the Emirates Stadium would undoubtedly like to see a new face in attack, but it may be that the likes of Yaya Sanogo, Joel Campbell, Lukas Podolski or Alexis Sanchez get their chance in a more central slot.