Dusan Vlahovic has reportedly knocked back an approach from Arsenal as he plans to weigh up his options in the summer.
The Fiorentina striker is a man in demand with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and the Gunners all linked with the 21-year-old.
Mikel Arteta’s men would rather not wait until the end of the season, however, as they are in desperate need of a new striker.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks set to leave the Emirates after he was stripped of the captaincy, while Alexandre Lacazette’s current deal runs out in the summer.
Vlahovic, who has 18 months left on his contract at Fiorentina, would be the perfect replacement after scoring a record-tying 33 Serie A goals in 2021.
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Arsenal are willing to break the bank this month to secure a move for the hitman with claims the north Londoners have made an approach to sign him.
But the Serbian has reportedly turned down the Gunners as he would rather see who comes calling in the summer window.
The fact Arteta’s men cannot guarantee Champions League football is also a sticking point for Vlahovic as starring for a club that is involved in Europe’s elite competition on a regular basis is a priority to the player.
Vlahovic is keen on working under Antonio Conte at Spurs, but Arsenal’s city rivals face the same dilemma.
Arteta has admitted that his side are “open” to doing a big deal in this window as the club are desperate for attacking reinforcements.
“If it’s the right player, we can afford and we can do want we want to do, we will discuss it and come to the best possible decision. We are open,” he said.
“I think with the amount of things and the way we want to evolve the squad, we have to maximise every window in many different ways.
“We are alert. (Technical director) Edu and his team are working very hard because we know exactly what we need to do.
“Whether we can accomplish that in January or the summer is a different question and related to lots of other stuff but we are there.”
Arsenal’s problems at the top end of the pitch were evident on Sunday night as they were dumped out of the FA Cup in the third round with a 1-0 defeat by Nottingham Forest.
And Arteta could not excuse the dismal performance as he held his hands up for the result.
He said: “We were not good enough and we have to apologise for it. I don’t want to use excuses, I expect the team I put out to do better and when you don’t in the cup you are out.
“Today showed we were not capable of winning against Forest away from home and didn’t put in the level to win the game. It’s a collective issue and today we have not done it.”