Arsenal have submitted an €8 million (approx. £5.7 million) bid for Juventus striker Fernando Llorente, according to Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports.
Italian newspaper Tuttosport (h/t Daily Express and Telegraph Sport) reported Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is "ready to broker" a deal for the 6'5" goliath on Monday. Llorente is surplus to requirements in Turin after head coach Massimiliano Allegri added Mario Mandzukic to his attacking options earlier in the transfer window.
Wenger has combined the use of Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott during pre-season, playing both individually and also together, but he needs another out-and-out striker to flesh out his squad.
Even so, he previously hinted the likes of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez—who can play up front but aren't traditional strikers—could dictate whether he dips into the market, per Arsenal's official Twitter account:
Arsenal FC @Arsenal
Wenger: "We have plenty of strikers and goals in the squad. We want more goals from non-strikers." #EmiratesCup2015 http://t.co/h5GGagYzYM2015-7-24 12:16:57
Both players are yet to highlight their fitness ahead of the new season, per the Gunners' feed:
Arsenal FC @Arsenal
Boss on Welbeck: "He hasn't recovered and isn't in training. @Alexis_Sanchez has not returned yet." #EmiratesCup2015 http://t.co/qFIwrC1YRt2015-7-24 12:10:32
Wenger admitted Walcott is "getting closer and closer" to signing a new £100,000-per-week contract with the north London club, reported Scott Coleman of the Daily Star. However, he isn't sure which position best suits the Englishman's rapid style of play:
It’s a complicated answer. If you ask him where he loves to play, even he is not certain. When I played him sometimes on the left, he likes it as well, because when he makes a good run he can score. In the middle, I think in his idea he would like to play off a physically strong player. But we have so many offensive players that it’s hard to combine all these players together.
Llorente could be the "physically strong player" Wenger alludes to. Giroud is more than capable of holding the ball up, but he doesn't have the powerhouse nature to clatter through the opposition's defence.
Walcott's goal in the 1-0 win over Wolfsburg on Sunday landed Arsenal the Emirates Cup, providing another reminder that he can excel when given the opportunity as a striker. He netted five in just 442 minutes worth of Premier League football last season for an average of a strike every 88 minutes, per WhoScored.com. Carry that form into 2015-16, and Walcott will push himself into the England setup for Euro 2016.
Prior to signing his current contract, Walcott admitted "playing up front is important" and "one of the main factors for me," per BBC Sport. He's scored double figures just once in the Premier League across nine years with the club, so it's time the 26-year-old finally breaks out.
Signing Llorente at the aforementioned cost would be smart business for Wenger. The Spaniard is hardly a risk at €8 million. He would promote competition for places and also add a sturdy presence to the manager's options.
Shrewd signings, such as the capture of Petr Cech from Chelsea, will determine whether the Gunners improve on their third-place finish next season. Llorente won't wow fans, but he could act as the catalyst for Walcott to achieve his potential.