Arsenal are reportedly eyeing a January swoop for Bologna’s £50million-rated striker Joshua Zirkzee, who is one of the options being considered to improve Mikel Arteta’s strikeforce. The Gunners have been urged to bring in a new forward to combat their lack of firepower this season, with the former Bayern Munich youngster discussed as an enticing option.
The Telegraph claim that Arsenal are keen admirers of the 22-year-old, who joined Bologna from Bayern 18 months ago and has scored nine Serie A goals in that time. They are closely monitoring the Netherlands youth international amid rising concerns over Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.
The Brazilian picked up another knee injury that kept him out of the FA Cup 2-0 defeat at home to Liverpool, while Nketiah’s long-term future at the Emirates is uncertain following reported interest from the likes of Crystal Palace and Wolves.
Arsenal would like to sign another striker this month but any deal would be complicated as the Gunners are conscious of potentially breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) after spending over £200m in the summer. Bologna would demand a fee in the region of £50m for Zirkzee.
The Italian club have already made it clear that they do not want to sell their young forward. Bologna sporting director Marco Di Vaio told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “How many phone calls have we received? None. And we wouldn’t answer anyway! Joshua is a nine-and-a-half [a striker and a playmaker], yes, but he doesn’t resemble anyone. He’s a unique player.”
Any deal for Zirkzee could be complicated by his release clause, which only pertains to Bayern after they reluctantly negotiated his sale in 2022. The Bundesliga champions can buy him back at £19m, but that price is not available for any other interested parties.
“The release clause? It is valid only for Bayern,” De Vaio added. “For the other clubs the price is open… but our top players will not move in January.”
A £50m price tag may prompt FFP fears, but Arsenal would likely be able to offset that by selling Nketiah to a Premier League rival, replacing him with the 6ft 4ins Zirkzee who provides another physical threat going forward.
Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have often been kept close to the touchlines this season, but Jesus and Nketiah have been unable to take advantage of crosses into the box, which has led to links for Brentford’s Ivan Toney.
However, the England striker would cost in the region of £100m and the 27-year-old has already outlined that he wants to repay Thomas Frank’s outfit for standing by him through his suspension for breaching betting rules. Zirkzee could be the alternative that Arsenal have been searching for.