• Tielemans also linked to Arsenal
Arsenal target, Dusan Vlahovic, is demanding a £7 million fee to renew his contract at Fiorentina, according to furious club president, Rocco Commisso.
Vlahovic, 21, has recently emerged as one of the brightest young strikers in European football, netting 39 goals in his last 60 appearances for Fiorentina, interested in bringing him to the Premier League in January, with Mikel Arteta on the hunt for a new frontman amid his fallout with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
However, the transfer may well cost them a staggering £150 million, as Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that they have been quoted a £58 million transfer fee by Fiorentina, while Vlahovic is demanding a five-year deal worth £300,000 per week.
It is also understood that the Serbia international’s representatives want £15 million themselves in any potential deal. And now, Commisso has opened up on Vlahovic’s excessive demands in an interview with the Financial Times, having already offered him a five-year contract worth £35 million at Fiorentina – which would make him the highest-paid player in their history.
But Commisso claims Vlahovic and his team are demanding hefty payments from suitors. The Fiorentina chief said they are currently “under active considerations as to what to do” with Vlahovic, before adding: “The more I live here, with this crazy sport, the more I realise how screwed up it is.”
Commisso also insisted he is by no means prepared to be “screwed by players.” The report states that his anger towards Vlahovic stems from his agency – the Belgrade-based International Sports Office – demanding £7 million simply to renew his deal at the Artemio Franchi Stadium.
They are also said to be requesting a 10 per cent cut of any future transfer fee from both Fiorentina and a buying club. Arsenal will therefore have their work cut out in satisfying his representatives, although finances may not prove the only stumbling block.
It is believed Vlahovic, who has 18 months remaining on his Fiorentina contract, is also looking to play European football, something the Gunners cannot offer him right now.
Meanwhile, reports say Arsenal have met with Youri Tielemans’ representatives, as Mikel Arteta looks to make a move for the Leicester City star.
According to Goal, the Belgian’s agents have travelled to the Gunners’ London Colney training ground in order to hold talks. Tielemans’ current contract is set to expire in 2023, meaning that Leicester will likely have to sell their prized asset in the summer if he doesn’t show any sign of committing to a new deal.
The north Londoners are close to bringing in Arthur Melo on a loan until the end of the season, since Ainsley Maitland-Niles has left for Roma on loan, while Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are off on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
But Tielemans would be a longer-term fit for the club, with Arteta’s blueprint for how he wants to set up his side in the future becoming particularly evident in recent weeks.
Since arriving at the club, the Spanish manager has often favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation, despite mentioning his desire to move to a 4-3-3. Originally, Mesut Ozil was deployed at no.10 but in recent months, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe have emerged as potential options in that spot, ahead of a double-pivot midfield.
Recently, however, Arteta’s side has drifted between a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 in and out of possession, with Thomas Partey deepest in the midfield. Martin Odegaard has dropped into a right-sided central midfield berth, with Granit Xhaka tasked with the left.
Xhaka is still a target for Roma though, after a failed transfer in the summer and Tielemans would be a big upgrade on the Swiss deep-lying playmaker. Arsenal would probably have to compete with Liverpool for the Belgian’s signature, while there would no doubt be interest from abroad.