Arsenal are understood to be switching their attention to AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca after discovering a move for Napoli superstar and Juventus target Gonzalo Higuain could be out of their reach.
According to Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb, the Gunners will set their sights on a bid for Bacca, and manager Arsene Wenger's side are hopeful an offer of €25 million (£20.8 million) will be sufficient to tie up a deal.
However, just how likely it is Arsenal will be able to strike an agreement at that figure is up for debate considering Bacca moved to the San Siro last summer for €30 million. Meanwhile, Italian daily Gazetta dello Sport has reported Juve are ready to meet Higuain's release clause (h/t MailOnline's Rory Brigstock-Barron).
The Colombia international, 29, recently suggested to Spanish daily AS he's open to a move away from Milan and is seeking an employer who will be playing in next season's UEFA Champions League (h/t Football Italia):
My future is in God’s hands.
I have four years on my contract with Milan, but there’s interest in me from English clubs, Spanish, German, French and even Italian.
It’s not an easy decision, but we’re calm because there’s plenty of time and my agent is in constant contact with those clubs and Milan.
The Champions League? It’s my dream to play in it, and I’ll work for that. Unfortunately the failure of Milan [to qualify] is one of the reasons we’re talking with the club.
Now [President Silvio] Berlusconi has sold the club to new investors and based on the project and the new signings I’ll decide my future.
After finishing second in the Premier League last season, Arsenal can at least fulfil Bacca's desire to feature in Europe's premier contest, while the Rosonneri's seventh-place finish in Serie A last term kept them out of continental competition.
The Gunners will be aware of the kind of asset they're getting their hands on if they do move for Bacca, after OptaJoe detailed precisely what kind of predator the player is:
Saj Chowdhury of BBC Sport recently reported West Ham United are already in talks to sign Bacca, meaning the former Sevilla frontman could have his pick of clubs in the capital this summer.
According to Brigstock-Barron, Juve could attempt to meet Higuain's £78.2 million release clause by offering Roberto Pereyra and Rolando Mandragora in part-exchange to make up £23.3 million of that figure.
The Guardian's Fabrizio Romano even reported a deal has already been agreed with the player:
Arsenal may struggle to offer the same terms to the player, not to mention forking out such a considerable transfer fee, with Olivier Giroud and injured Danny Welbeck still the club's main sources in attack.
That being said, Higuain proved his worth in Italy by scoring a Serie A record 36 goals in 2015-16, and OptaPaolo highlighted just what a unique threat the Argentina international was:
The Gunners have already added weight to their midfield this summer with the £35 million acquisition of Granit Xhaka, but attack remains an area in which they're reportedly looking to recruit.
Higuain is already aware he can be a world-class force in Italy's top flight, and so the interest from Juve combined with Arsenal's reluctance to spend could see the English powerhouse move for Bacca instead.