Arsenal look set to miss out on their priority transfer target, striker Dusan Vlahovic and time is running out to find a suitable forward to come in and boost the Gunners’ chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
There is a growing shadow over the Emirates Stadium when it comes to Arsenal’s strikers and it won’t be long until there will only be one or maybe even zero senior strikers at the club. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may have damaged his relationship with the club beyond repair as he remains exiled from first-team activities. The only other senior forwards at the club, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah both have contracts that come to an end in the summer and there is nothing to suggest they are going to be offered or even sign new deals. This creates a serious problem for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, and it is vital that a striker is added this window, just in case the club were provided an opportunity to cash in on one of their forwards before the window shuts.
Promising youngster Folarin Balogun has been loaned out to Middlesbrough for the remainder of the season, but there is another forward who was once on their books but let go, who is now scoring for fun in France. Stephy Mavididi made the decision to leave north London in 2018 in a search for an easier pathway to regular first-team football and he joined Juventus, having been scouted by Giorgio Chiellini’s brother. He featured more for the U23’s side than the first-team but he did manage to make one appearance for the Old Lady before getting his first taste of French football with a loan to Dijon before joining his current club Montpellier on a permanent deal in the summer of 2020.
Two first-half goals from Montpellier and Monaco find themselves in trouble.
The Ligue 1 side are currently sat sixth in the table and are only a point off fourth and Mavididi’s eight goals have had a great impact on their current success this season. The 23-year-old has got what he wanted after making the difficult decision to leave for Europe in search of an easier pathway to senior football. And after scoring a brace in the emphatic 3-2 victory over Monaco at the weekend, some Arsenal supporters may be wondering what might have been. And there may be club officials at Arsenal who will be wondering if they had been premature in letting Mavididi leave so easily and possibly lead them to take more deliberation when making decisions on young talent in the academy.
They are not the only London club who seem to have this issue, with Chelsea’s former striker Tammy Abraham lighting up Serie A while Romelu Lukaku has struggled upon his Stamford Bridge return. These two players are just two examples of where decisions come back to haunt football clubs, and with the current situation Arsenal find themselves in, it is an unsavoury scenario of their own making.
With Premier League clubs monitoring the progress of Mavididi, Arsenal may soon come face-to-face with the player they willingly let go who is now rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most highly sought-after talents. And once again they’ll be left looking for a prolific goalscorer, rueing the day they let one slip through their fingers.