It is a well-known and almost over-documented fact that, for the first time in years, Arsenal have money to spend this summer. And spend they should if they’re to challenge for top honours next season, but Arsene Wenger also needs to keep his wits about him.
Stevan Jovetic has been widely reported as Arsenal’s main target this summer and I am excited at the prospect of seeing the 23-year-old plying his trade at the Emirates Stadium. However, Fiorentina are clearly taking a chance for asking £30m for their striker.
There is no doubt that he’s a good player: he dribbles well, is a good playmaker and can score goals, but he’s certainly not better than any of Arsenal’s current options in attack - and most definitely not better than Robin van Persie, who Arsenal let go for £24m.
Jovetic scored 13 goals in 31 Serie A appearances this season – not a statistic you would expect of a £30m-rated striker.
Although the lack of goals might not reflect the Montenegro international’s season accurately, it is goals that Arsenal need. The Emirates outfit already have a host of playmakers and will probably acquire another before the 2013/14 season kicks off.
What they need is a targetman and a goal machine that can guarantee goals, and Jovetic doesn’t quite fit the bill – and certainly not at £30m.
Both Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott have more impressive overall stats than Jovetic this season, and that’s in a league that can be argued is slightly tougher than the Serie A.
While Jovetic scored a goal every 223 minutes in 2012/13, Walcott scored every 148 minutes, Giroud every 158 minutes, and Lukas Podolski every 180 minutes.
And while it might work well to play Jovetic and Giroud together at the front or even with Jovetic as a deep-lying forward providing for Giroud, that shouldn’t come with a price tag of over £20m.
Thankfully, Wenger wasn’t born yesterday and his valuation of the player at £20m is much more accurate than Fiorentina’s ridiculous asking price - and Wenger’s refusal to pay the £30m should be met with support by Arsenal fans, not criticism.
Wenger has tremendous pressure on him to perform in the transfer market this summer but the Frenchman shouldn’t spend for spending's sake.
If Fiorentina refuse to lower their price for the forward, Le Professeur should look elsewhere. And fortunately he already has. At a reported £19m, Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain is a much more viable option in attack.
Although older than Jovetic, he is a more proven goalscorer and has much more experience in a more demanding league - and with 17 goals from 28 starts his stats last season trumps that of Jovetic’s.
Aston Villa's Christian Benteke will also be a good option. The Belgian has proved his worth in the Premier League this season, gaining valuable English football experience – something that Jovetic will inevitably take time to get used to. Benteke would also come at a much lower price.
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