Alessio Cerci courted by Arsenal

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Arsenal are preparing a bid for Manchester United target Alessio Cerci amid fears that Olivier Giroud faces three months on the sidelines.

The London Metro reports how the France international suffered an injury in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park, and with Lukas Podolski on the verge of leaving the Emirates, the north London club are short on options in attack.

According to respected Sky Sports Italia journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has drawn up a contingency plan in the form of Torino forward Cerci, who is valued by the Serie 'A' club at £16 million.

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The 27-year-old operates primarily as a winger, but is also capable of playing as a second striker - an attribute that could prove invaluable to Arsenal depending on the extent of Giroud's ankle injury.

The Italy international has attracted widespread interest already this summer, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Atletico Madrid all courting Cerci's signature as well, according to talkSPORT.

Rival interest

Louis van Gaal is believed to be keen on the player, despite his wealth of attacking options available to him at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are also about to confirm the signing of Argentine winger Angel di Maria in a blockbuster deal from Real Madrid, so it's unlikely they'll move for Cerci too.

Chelsea have also previously been mooted as admirers of the Italian, but that was prior to Jose Mourinho's capture of Diego Costa, who has made an emphatic start to life at Stamford Bridge with two goals in as many Premier League games.

However, the possible departure of Fernando Torres in the remaining days of the transfer window could prompt the Blues to renew interest in the in-demand star.

Departure imminent

Torino are seemingly resigned to losing Cerci before September 1, given the increasing list of suitors monitoring his situation at Stadio Olimpico.

AC Milan and AS Roma are keeping tabs on developments too, having been attracted to a player that netted an impressive 13 league goals and contributed 12 assists in 37 appearances in 2013/14, taking his overall total to 33 goals and 30 assists in 144 Serie 'A' matches.

Cerci started his career at Roma, taking in loan spells at Brescia, Pisa and Atalanta prior to a transfer to Fiorentina in 2010. Two years later he joined Torino where he has excelled, earning 13 caps for his country in the process.

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Manchester United
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