Arsenal are ready to inflict the first blow of Antonio Conte’s Tottenham reign by paying €80m to sign the Italian’s top transfer target in January.
Conte was appointed as Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor earlier this week and has immediately transformed the mood around the ailing north London club, with the first team squad said to be ‘buzzing’ after he observed training on Wednesday.
The former Chelsea boss oversaw last night’s chaotic 3-2 victory over Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League and was immediately made aware of the need to strengthen his team in the transfer window.
Reports earlier this week claimed the 52-year-old wants to sign at least two new central defenders, while he is also keen on adding Franck Kessie to a midfield that has lacked steel and energy this season.
Speaking about potential targets ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Everton, Conte said: ‘Now to tell that we have a specific target is not simple. I think the club is the same. Paratici knows very well this is the situation.
‘I think at the moment it’s not good or not fair to say we want to do this or reach this. At the moment we’ve only to be strong, to start to work together and think that we need to improve.’
And while Conte will still be able to call upon two of the most prolific forwards in the Premier League in the form of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, he is still keen to add another striker to the ranks and ease the burden on his side’s two genuine world class players.
Conte is said to be keen on Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic but Spurs have been put off by the Serbia international’s €80m price tag.
According to Sky Italy, however, that valuation has far from deterred Arsenal who are said to have already met with their Italian counterparts and are keen to strike a deal imminently.
Mikel Arteta’s side still boasts the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, but both are into their thirties and the latter has less than six months left on his current contract.
Fiorentina, for their part, are already preparing for Vlahovic’s departure and are targeting a move for Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi.
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