After Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captain’s armband last month, and with current marksman Alexandre Lacazette now available to other clubs on a pre-contract, the North London side are in the market for a replacement striker.
A three-man shortlist has been devised by the club, consisting of a youthful crop of goal-scorers, poised to fill the shoes of the seemingly two outgoing veterans.
Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic is one of Europe’s hottest prospects this season and reports suggest the Gunners have tabled a €55 million bid, plus Lucas Torreira, to the Italian side- however, a degree of uncertainty on the players side looms over the deal.
Lille’s Jonathan David is also on the watchlist, but Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak appears to be the name topping Arteta’s belated Christmas list.
Ideal fit for Arteta
Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, Isak plays very little like the commanding target man he’s expected to be.
Instead, the Sociedad star possess an nifty ability with the ball at his feet- embodying the silky calibre of player that Arteta continues to bolster his Arsenal side with- and packs a punch with a keen eye for goal.
The 22-year-old bagged 17 times in La Liga in the 2020/21 campaign, finishing sixth top goalscorer, short to the likes of Lionel Messi (30), Karim Benzema (23), whilst trumping household names Iago Aspas (14), and Antoine Griezmann (13).
Journey so far
A highly-touted youngster at AIK, Isak joined Borussia Dortmund aged 17, as the German giants fought off Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid for a €10 million fee- coincidently where he came in as the outgoing Aubameyang headed for his North London switch.
Weeks prior to his move to BVB, Isak marked his international debut for Sweden- where he has now netted eight times in 31 appearances, playing successor to the Zlatan Ibrahimovic mantle.
However, having made only five appearances for Dortmund, with a loan spell at Willem II in-between, Isak moved to Sociedad, where he leads the line today.
Gunners need new gunman
Despite the Gunners’ mid-season goal tally resurgence, there is no doubt the current fourth-placed side still need a new number nine, one who can evolve with the current attacking core of the team.
Having previously linked up with fellow Scandinavian Martin Odegaard- where the two combined for 37 goals in the 2019/20 season- Isak, perhaps, seems a more natural fit compared to the other striking targets, and could reignite the partnership with Odegaard that led Sociedad to the Copa Del Ray that season.
His graceful style of play and clever off-the-ball runs would fair well in an Arsenal team showing signs of becoming a fluid attacking force.
Despite a €43 million estimated market value, Isak is tied down to a whopping €70 million minimum release clause, per The Athletic, and the Gunners are said to be still in the hunt for the Serbian, Vlahovic.